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Young American Artists 

1978 Exxon National Exhibition 



This exhibition is sponsored 
by Exxon Corporation 



The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York 



Published by 

The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, 

New York, 1978 

ISBN: 0-89207-013-7 

Library of Congress Card Catalogue Number: 78-54030 

© The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, New York, 1978 



The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation 



President Peter O. Lawson-Johnston 

Trustees H.H. Arnason, The Right Honorable Earl Castle Stewart, Joseph W. 
Donner, John Hilson, Eugene W. Leake, Frank R, Milliken, 
A. Chauncey Newlin, Mrs, Henry Obre, Albert E. Thiele, 
Michael F, Wettach 



The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum 

Director Thomas M, Messer 

Staff Henry Berg, Deputy Director 

Susan Halper, Executive Assistant; Vanessa Jalet, Secretary 
to the Director 

Louise Averill Svendsen, Curator; Diane Waldman, Curator of 
Exhibitions; Margit Rowell, Curator of Special Exhibitions; 
Angelica Zander Rudenstme, Research Curator; Linda Konheim, 
Curatorial Administrator; Linda Shearer, Assistant Curator; Carol 
Fuerstein, Editor; Mary Joan Hall, Librarian; Ward Jackson, 
Archivist; Susan Ferleger, Philip Verre, Clair Zamoiski, Curatorial 
Assistants; Susan Hirschfeld, Editorial Assistant 

Mimi Poser, Public Affairs Officer; Miriam Emden, Membership 
Department Head 

Jane E Heffner, Development Officer; Carolyn Porcelli, Development 
Associate 

Agnes R. Connolly, Auditor; Philip Almeida, Restaurant Manager, 
Elizabeth McKirdie, Business Assistant; Charles Hovland, Sales 
Supervisor; Darrie Hammer, Katherine W. Briggs, Information 

David Roger Anthony, Technical Officer; Orrin H. Riley, Conservator; 
Lucy Belloli, Associate Conservator; Dana L. Cranmer, Technical 
Manager; Elizabeth M, Funghini, Cherie A. Summers, Associate 
Registrars; Jack Coyle, Registrars' Assistant, Saul Fuerstein, 
Preparator; Scott A, Wixon, Operations Coordinator; David 
Mortensen, Carpenter; Robert E, Mates, Photographer; Mary Donlon, 
Associate Photographer 

David A. Sutter, Building Superintendent; Guy Fletcher, Jr., 
Assistant Building Superintendent; Charles F Banach, Head Guard 



Lenders to the Exhibition 



Sjah Armajani, Minneapolis 

Scott Burton, New York 

Donald Droll 

Charles Ennis 

Faygo Beverage Corporation, Detroit 

Denise Green, New York 

Dr Wilford Grover, Washington, D C 

Bryan Hunt, New York 

Mary Jane Jacob and Russell Lewis, Ann Arbor, Michigan 

Marilyn Lenkowsky, New York 

Sydney and Frances Lewis 

Robert Lawrance Lobe, New York 

Nachume Miller, New York 

Mr and Mrs Jeffrey Miro 

Martin Puryear, Washington, DC 

Jenny Snider, New York 

Danny Williams, Dallas 

Scott Wixon, New York 

Blum-Helman Gallery, New York 

Droll /Kolbert Gallery 

Feigenson-Rosenstein Gallery, Detroit 

Susanne Hilberry Gallery Inc., Birmingham, Michigan 

Brooks Jackson Gallery, lolas, New York 

Max Protetch Gallery, New York 

Dallas Museum of Fine Arts 



Artists in the Exhibition 



Siah Armaiani 
Scott Burton 
John Egner 
Denise Green 
Bryan Hunt 
Marilyn Lenkowsky 
Robert Lawrance Lobe 
Nachume Miller 
Gordon Newton 
Martin Puryear 
Jenny Snider 
Danny Williams 
Scott Wixon 



Preface and Acknowledgements 



Organizers of young talent shows usually accept more or less explicit 
limitations and make certain implicit assumptions. Youth is clearly 
a prerequisite for inclusion in such a presentation In the present 
exhibition, although no age limit has been stipulated, the oldest of 
the thirteen participants are 39, the youngest is 28 and the median 
age 33, The selection is further restricted to Americans who, with 
one temporary exception, currently work in the United States, They 
use a variety of media which often remain outside of conventional 
categories The majority of the artists chosen work in New York, 
although many were born elsewhere Others live in Detroit, Min- 
neapolis, Washington and Dallas 

Few of these young talents are known to the general museum-going 
public and even specialists in the field of current art will find un- 
familiar names among those selected About one-half of the thirteen 
are represented by galleries It was required that none of those 
chosen command high prices, so that the Guggenheim could acquire 
one work by each participant as part of the exhibition proiect 

Two seemingly contradictory but actually quite compatible assump- 
tions are implicit in our procedure. We do not presume that the 
thirteen young Americans chosen are the only promising or deserving 
artists who might have been included. Yet. they have been selected 
on the grounds of quality alone. As in earlier exhibitions of this kind, 
the Guggenheim Museum, therefore, supports the decisions made 
by the exhibition's curator. 

Young American Artists: 1978 Exxon National Exhibition opens a 
new chapter in the history of corporate art sponsorship. Corporations 
in this country have by now established an impressive record of 
assistance for the arts, and the Guggenheim Museum itself has 
repeatedly benefited from such aid The present show, however, is 
among the first instances of substantial commitments by American 
corporations in support of contemporary, advanced art, Exxon 
Corporation made this commitment with full awareness of the con- 
troversial nature of exhibitions of current art. They know also that 
such undertakings usually do not bring public and critical acclaim. In 
fully and generously sponsoring this selection of young American 
talent, Exxon has thus taken a significant step for which we are 
deeply grateful. 



The exhibition was chosen by Linda Shearer, the Guggenheim's 
Assistant Curator. In this difficult and sensitive task, Mrs. Shearer 
has benefited from advice from within and outside the museum; the 
selection, however, is ultimately a personal one, the result of her own 
continuing search, investigation and thought for which we are all 
indebted to her. Many individuals have worked on various levels to 
bring about this small but ambitious exhibition. In Mrs. Shearer's 
name, I therefore acknowledge the valuable contributions of the 
museum staff— and thank in particular Diane Waldman, Curator of 
Exhibitions, tor her helpful suggestions, Hilarie Faberman, Cura- 
torial Fellow, who assisted on all phases of the exhibition and 
preparation of the catalogue, Carol Fuerstein, the Museum's Editor, 
who intelligently edited the manuscript and, with the able assistance 
of Susan Hirschfeld, saw the publication through the presses, 
Susan Ferleger and Judith Tannenbaum, for their general help. 

We are also indebted to Robert Murdock, Curator of Contemporary 
Art, Dallas Museum of Fine Arts, to Murray Smither and the artist 
Sam Gummelt, both of Dallas, who have provided invaluable 
assistance on behalf of Danny Williams who was abroad during the 
preparation of the exhibition. Dawn Stewart must be thanked for 
her careful transcription of the lengthy interviews conducted by 
Mrs. Shearer. The lenders and dealers have given us their generous 
cooperation. Finally, we, of course, must extend our gratitude to 
the participating artists. 

Young American Artists makes significant contributions in a number 
of ways. First, it allows the Guggenheim to welcome younger Ameri- 
can talent. Secondly, the purchase fund provided by Exxon enables 
the Museum to acquire one work by each participant in the show 
and thereby purposefully enrich its collection. Finally, the exhibition 
and its catalogue will offer the Museum's visitors an opportunity to 
acquaint themselves with an aspect of a wide and largely undefined 
area of contemporary art. We hope, therefore, that this presentation, 
despite its necessarily fragmentary and subjective nature, will add 
to the understanding of current art which the public so eagerly seeks 

Thomas M. Messer, Director 

The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum 



Introduction 



Where is art going, what are the prevalent directions and trends? 
As we approach the end of the seventies, these are the questions at 
the core of any discussion of today's art The answer, clearly, is 
that this is a time of vast stylistic diversity in New York and across 
the country, a period in which no single movement has become 
dominant While there is complete unanimity on this point, there is, 
however, a wide range of opinion among those who attemptto find the 
reasons for this diversity and evaluate it: artists are approvingly viewed 
as pursuing their own independent visions in intensely personal ways, 
or the seventies are disparagingly described as a decade of transition 
from which a major talent has yet to emerge 

Virtually all those who analyze the art of the seventies attempt to 
define it within the frame of reference of the sixties. While it is, 
of course, appropriate to keep in mind the relationships between 
successive generations of artists, there is a danger that the real 
achievements of younger artists will be obscured if excessive atten- 
tion is paid to their predecessors The sixties were characterized 
by radical innovation and pressure for constant change. To be sure, the 
artists of the seventies respect the high quality of the work pro- 
duced in the sixties and are, to varying degrees, influenced by it 
However, they re|ect much of the legacy of that decade Most 
importantly they do not care to aggressively challenge the past, as 
their precursors did when, for example, they broke with Abstract 
Expressionism 

It is important to remember that the sixties was a time of social 
revolution and political polarization; conflict and confrontation, 
clearly defined and sharply contrasting values dominated our lives. 
Paradoxically, despite the turbulence of the decade and the rapid 
evolution of its art, this art seemed coherent even then "Vivid'' 
is a word that evokes the sixties and its painting and sculpture; but 
"complex" best describes the uncertainties and ambiguities of the 
experience and art of our own decade 

Because it is so difficult to come to terms with this complexity, we 
perhaps favor the vividness of the sixties and wish the current 
generation of artists would provide us with work that reflects a 
similar kind of clarity. Are we holding on to a lingering hope that the 
art of the seventies will create a sense of coherency that we lack'' 



Because the art of the sixties changed so dramatically, do we perhaps 
feel that current art, which is evolving almost imperceptibly, is not 
developing at all? Are we demanding that younger artists reaffirm 
the past in order to be acknowledged as part of the present? In our 
effort and need to divide art into trends and movements, we become 
impatient when we cannot do so because today's esthetic expression 
does not conform to the expectations born of the sixties. 

Artists are no longer highly visible; they have withdrawn from the 
public eye and turned back into themselves, becoming more and 
more involved with personalizing their expression. The expressive, 
deeply personal components of their work have assumed greater 
significance in relation to the more formal elements. Their critical 
faculties seem attuned to what does not ring true emotionally. Thus, 
in order to better understand today's art we must learn how each 
artist sees himself and tries to fulfill his own sense of identity. An 
attempt to compare the artists of the present exhibition to one 
another does not, of course, provide us with a sense of coherency, 
but rather of the fragmentation and diversity that is the art of the 
seventies. While the participants in Young American Artists cannot 
be linked to a common style, there are connections among them— 
connections in their work and in their ideas. Both Nachume Miller 
and Jenny Snider cite Klee as an important influence. While they 
both refer to the literary, poetic nature of Klee's art, Miller 
responds to the metaphysical, symbolic aspects of his work, and 
Snider to his sense of scale and material. Snider's painting bears 
more obvious affinities with that of Danny Williams. 

She and Williams look to the organic abstractions of twentieth-cen- 
tury European and American artists like early Kandinsky, Hartley and 
Dove Snider and Williams as well as Denise Green and Scott Wixon 
are painters who are very much involved with the tradition of 
painting. But John Egner, Miller and Marilyn Lenkowsky, although 
they view themselves as painters, make constructions that are hybrids 
of painting and sculpture. 

Many of these young artists are questioning the accepted forms of 
expression; indeed, a number of them, influenced by the Conceptual 
artists of the late sixties, are turning to disciplines outside of fine 
arts as sources of new meaning for their work. Thus, the rationale 



for Siah Armaiani s houses and bridges lies in the esthetic of 
architecture; Scott Burton's inspiration for his furniture is in the 
decorative arts, and he believes that artists will play a role as 
decorators in the future; the painting of both Snider and Williams 
reveals a debt to textiles and fabrics Green, Bryan Hunt and 
Robert Lobe revitalize their forms by depicting isolated single images 
In an extremely literal way: these representational images, removed 
from their normal contexts, take on abstract qualities. In contrast 
the Pop artists parodied the images they drew from mass culture 
and were careful to maintain a certain distance from their work. 
There is no irony In the attitudes of Green, Hunt, Lobe and others 
whose images relate intimately to their personal surroundings and 
lives; they sincerely believe in the intrinsic beauty of the forms they 
portray and express their moral commitment to the integrity of the 
ob|ect Aspects of nature appear— explicitly in the work of Hunt 
and Lobe, implicitly in that of Martin Puryear, Gordon Newton, 
Snider, Williams and Wixon These natural forms contrast with 
the hard, industrial, anonymous elements of the Minimal Art of 
the mid-sixties. 

In a desire to engage the viewer in their work, Armaiani, Egner and 
Miller are careful to reveal the structure of their pieces, and Green, 
Lenkowsky, Newton and Wixon, call attention to their process 
This tendency, as well as the intensely personal nature of their work, 
relates a number of these artists to Abstract Expressionism. They 
do not, however, share with the Abstract Expressionists their com- 
mitment to the grand, heroic statement, to the expression of 
transcendental meaning, but wish to convey their private feelings 
in a more intimate manner through an intense involvement with the 
ob|ect The artists of the seventies, instead of completely and 
radically reacting tradition, select elements of past art, alter and 
apply them to their own work. Thus, as the artists themselves point 
out, Egner appropriates aspects of Cubism, and Snider reinter- 
preted—and by her own admission, deliberately distorted— Abstract 
Expressionism. There is a very conscious effort on the part of 
certain younger artists to deny the facile, the sleek, the too easily 
imitated For this reason they tend to avoid the crisp, clean surface 
in favor of roughness, spontaneity and directness, and actively reiect 
the beautiful and sophisticated for calculated naivete. 



10 



Thus, certain connections among current artists may be discerned, 
and some rather tentative general conclusions may be drawn. 
However, we must realize that the effort to compare artists is per- 
haps part of the problem confronting us— that it is an approach not 
necessarily pertinent to our own times. Furthermore, it is my 
contention, which these artists reinforce as they express in their 
interviews an indifference to a group esthetic, that the art experience 
of the seventies has yet to be defined in terms of this decade. This is 
not an accusation that either audience or artist has failed, but 
rather it represents an effort to focus on the complexity of the 
present situation. In reexamining our frame of reference, we may 
well come to realize that our attempt to find a unifying thread for the 
period is in fact a veiled qualitative judgement and is engaged in 
for the sake of simplification. We must, therefore, change our 
attitudes and approach artists as individuals, viewing their work as 
independent of specific movements or groups. We must view them 
from a new perspective, the perspective of the seventies. 

Linda Shearer 



11 



12 



Works in the Exhibition 

Documentation 

Interviews 



t not reproduced Explanatory Note 

The following interviews are edited versions of taped discussions. 
The interviews with Slah Armajani, John Egner and Gordon Newton 
were conducted over the telephone, the rest in person. Each inter- 
view begins with a general statement on the artist's relationship 
to the art of the sixties. Danny Williams has been in India on a 
Fulbnght fellowship since September 1 977. He decided, therefore, to 
submit a written statement for inclusion in the catalogue 



13 



Siah Armajani 



Born in Teheran, 1939 
Lives in Minneapolis 

Education 

Macalester College, St, Paul, Minnesota, 

1960-63, B A 

Selected Group Exhibitions 
Museum ot Contemporary Art, Chicago, 
Towers, September 1 3-October 25, 1 969, 
Traveled to Cranbrook Academy of Art, 
Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, November 
9-December 7. 1969; Finch College 
Museum of Art/Contemporary Wing, 
Finch College. New York, 
February 12-March 31, 1970 
The Museum of Modern Art, New York, 
Information, July 2-September 20, 1970 
Minnesota State Arts Council, Min- 
neapolis and St. Paul, 9 Artists/9 Spaces, 
September 10-October 15, 1970 
Museum Fridencianum, Kassel, West 
Germany, Documenta 5, June 30- 
October 8, 1972 

Henry Gallery, University of Washington, 
Seattle, Operation Vesuvius, November 
10-December 10. 1972 Traveled to 
Gallena d'Arte'il Centra, Naples, 1973 
The Institute for Art and Urban Re- 
sources at the Clocktower, New York, 
Discussions: Works/ Words, May 11- 
June 1, 1974 

Federal Center, Chicago, Sculptures for 
a New Era. 1 975 

Wright State University, Dayton, Ohio, 
16 Projects/ 4 Artists: Siah Armajani, 
Larry Bell, Lloyd Hamrol, Pat Steir. 
Armajani installations: Wright State 
University, November 1-15, 1976, Moore 
College of Art. Philadelphia. January 
24-28. 1977: University of Kentucky. 
Lexington. April 4-8, 1977. Armajani 
seminar at California State University. 
Long Beach, November 29-December 3, 
1976. Catalogue with introduction by 
Lawrence Atloway, texts on Armajani by 
William Spurlock. Stacy Dukes and Kevin 
Boyle. Dianne Vanderlip. Derrick 
Woodham. 

Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, Scale 
and Environment: 10 Sculptors, October 
2-November 27, 1977 Catalogue with 



SA: To get a clear picture of my work at present, I think it would be 
useful to understand the situation in which I and other artists of 
my generation found ourselves in the mid-sixties In 1966 I was 
studying philosophy and realized that there were so many ideas 
which I could not express in my painting I was terribly dissatisfied 
with these paintings, and I think some other people at that time felt 
their work was inadequate in the same sort of way 

This dissatisfaction was based on the conclusion that there were 
certain ideas, not only philosophical ones, which could not be trans- 
lated or expressed directly in the forms of painting and sculpture as 
they existed then. What was needed was a reinvestigation of art 
to determine what its properties and capabilities are. And so, many 
of us turned to the social sciences as a model for a compatible 
methodology which would provide an interrelationship between 
science and art It was a search for a new form, a form for our 
content The problem is that each new form creates a new content 
For example, the anthropologist's methodology, when used by the 
artist, expands the possibilities of what art is about, until, by 
extending this procedure to other fields, ultimately art can become 
about everything But I recognize that for me and my work art can't 
be about everything Some decisions are necessary, and for me, 
one of the first ones was to cast my lot with architecture. 

LS: Do you consider yourself an architect? 

SA: All the pieces that I exhibit— whether they are models or large 
scale constructions— are final and finished works. So I doubt that 
they would be mistaken for examples of practical architecture. I am 
not an architect and have never formally studied architecture. But 
I have gained a background from the writings of Vincent Scully The 
structure, the interaction of materials, the framing and the openness 
of construction which reveals process in my work are all derived 
from early American architecture— bridges, log cabins, barns and 
shmgle-style buildings, etc In terms of general attitudes and ideas, 
I am strongly influenced by Robert Ventun's writings, especially his 
Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture. His perspective on 
American social democracy is very important because it incorporates 
political, social and economic considerations. It is the attitude of 
inclusion, not exclusion. If you want to build something new, you 
don't have to destroy something older that's next to it This demo- 
cratic approach deeply appeals to me; you know, I really see myself 
as a midwestern populist. 

LS: Although you refer to architecture as the basis of your work, do 
you consider the actual ob|ects to be sculpture? 

SA: That is a hard question for me to answer directly But if we 
assume that architecture, like science, could be categorized into pure 
and applied branches, then we can conclude that non-functional pure 
architecture shares the same properties as sculpture. So we must 



14 




1 . Model lor Sunset Bridge. 1 972 



introduction by Martin Friedman and 
text on Armajani by Michael R. Klein 

One-Man Exhibitions 

White Bear, Minnesota, First Bridge, 
January 1968 

Philadelphia College of Art, Red School 
House for Thomas Paine, opened 
March 3, 1978 

Selected Bibliography 

Christopher Finch, "Process and Imag- 
ination," Design Quarterly, no. 74/75, 
1969, pp. 22-30 

Richard Koshalek, "A New Idiom of 
Public Art," Landscape Architecture, 
vol 61, July 1971, pp. 313-316 
Jasia Reichardt, "Art at Large: Towers," 
New Scientist, November 2, 1 972, p. 298 
Joshua Kind, "Statues and Sculpture," 
New Art Examiner, October 1975, p. 67 
Michelle Stone and Alison Sky, Unbuilt 
America, New York, 1976, pp. 5, 25-26 



begin again with a single history of architecture and sculpture. 
In fact, along with a linguist friend, I am trying to find a word that 
describes this combination of architecture and sculpture. Because 
I recognize in my work a unified history of sculpture and architecture, 
the words "architectural" and "sculptural" create a false dichotomy 
and are not descriptive. Thomas Jellerson's House, West Wing, 
Sunset House (cat. no. 3), for instance, does not depend for its 
existence as a work of art on whether or not it can be lived in, any 
more than it is necessary to live in a piece of sculpture in order to 
appreciate it. I do not call them architectural sculptures, they are, 
however, investigations into the qualities and properties of the house 
in the context of the social history of lived-in structures 

LS: Your reference to Venturis impact on your work suggests that 
you are not interested in the abstract idea of House. If this is so, 
how does the structure of the house function in your work? 

SA: The house does not appear to me first in terms of its houseness, 
but rather in terms of its individual parts or what I call instruments- 
walls, doors, floor, etc. By focusing on the parts, rather than the 
whole, I am trying to substitute synergy for gestalt. This means 
that the individual parts do not necessarily make or predict the 



15 



3 Thomas Jetfer son's House, West 
Wing, Sunset House. 1977 




16 



Checklist 

1 Model for Sunset Bridge. 1972 
Balsa wood and enamel, 
7 x 62'/, x 8%" 
Collection Dr, Wilford Grover, 
Washington, DC, 

1 2 Model for Thomas Jefferson's House, 
West Wing, Sunset House. 1976-1977 
Balsa wood, enamel and sandpaper, 
5 x 22'/ 2 x 16" 

Lent by the artist, courtesy Max 
Protetch Gallery, New York 

3 Thomas Jefferson's House, West 
Wing, Sunset House. 1 977 
Wood, corrugated steel, shingles, 
enamel, 10 x 42 x 32' 
Collection of the artist 
not in exhibition 

1 4 Model for Lissitzky's Neighborhood 
1977-78 

Balsa wood and enamel, 10 x 
33 x 29" 

Lent by the artist, .courtesy Max 
Protetch Gallery, New York 

5 Model for Lissitzky's Neighborhood, 
detail showing Center House. 1977 
Balsa wood and enamel, 7x18x16" 
Lent by the artist, courtesy Max 
Protetch Gallery, New York 

1 6 Lissitzky's Neighborhood, Center 
House. 1978 

Wood, corrugated metal, plexiglass 
and enamel, 14 x 36 x 32' 
Lent by the artist, courtesy Max 
Protetch Gallery, New York 



whole. Synergy is a process in which the whole, as revealed through 
the relationship of its parts, is not complete. It is therefore a process 
of "becoming," or to borrow Sartre's phrase, it remains "not yet 
certain." 

I'm saying, for instance, that the house is made up of definite and 
distinct parts. But also I'm saying that the house is a kind of event 
which generates certain perspectives so that one can view or 
experience it. It doesn't mean, however, that one perspective is con- 
sistent or adequate for all the parts, nor does it mean that each side is 
going to enhance the previous experience of the other side, but may 
even contradict it, or annihilate it altogether. 

LS: Does this mean you are trying to confound and disorient the 
viewer? 

SA: No, not really. I am not trying to shock or confuse anyone. But, 
as I said, I do consider the house as an event (1 ) which compels an 
interaction between the viewer and the parts, and (2) which in turn 
becomes an exploration of its distinct properties. Take, for example, 
a room with a door. What interests me is the role of the door and 
the problem of entrance into an enclosed space. In order to have this 
enclosed structure, sides, a bottom, a top and a door are needed. 
But when I enter into the space, it is the emptiness that is important. 
So, the emptiness and the structure of the room are two elements 
that must be recognized as distinct and considered separately. This 
is what I mean when I refer to the house as an event. Unfortunately 
we tend to resist this dichotomy and limit the potential of our 
perceptual experience. Day-to-day life requires that we make 
assumptions based on knowledge, which does not come from this 
direct experience. 

The house for me is the means for people to encounter things, not 
through knowledge, but through activity and investigation. Because 
this encounter in my work tends to undermine our assumptions 
about ourselves and external objects, there is necessarily a kind of 
disorientation, but I don't consider that a negative device, like shock 

LS: How does the piece, Lissitzky's Neighborhood, Center House 
(cat. no 6), relate to the rest of your work? 

SA: There is a total of five houses, each one representing a style of 
American architecture: a Richardson shingle-style structure, one in 
the international style, another in the new shingle, one resembling 
Le Corbusier's early work, and finally the New York Five. Lissitzky is 
part of the title because I am fascinated by his character, his courage: 
he was a liaison between Russia and Europe during the early part 
of the twentieth century, bringing information back and forth. I call 
it Lissitzky's Neighborhood because he could live there; it's accom- 
modating. I believe in that. 



17 




5. Model tor Lissitzky's Neighborhood, 
detail showing Center House. 1977 



LS: When you say he could live there, that it's accommodating, is 
this a kind of contradiction, given the fact that your work is not 
functional 9 

SA: Let me explain it this way: Dewey is very important to me, he 
felt that in a diversified and fragmented society like America, we 
need some force to bring the social, political and economic factions 
together And the an 1 experience could become the catalyst, Dewey 
was one of the very few people who looked on the art experience, 
not art per se, as a catalyst for that. There was a salvation there, 
that society could come together through the structure of culture, 
through the structure of experience. When I say it's accommodating, 
that Lissitzky could live there, what I mean is it brings together 
through the catalyst of an art experience many diversified elements 
into a unity which I believe Lissitzky would have appreciated 



18 



Scott Burton 



Born in Greensboro, Alabama, 1939 
Lives in New York City 

Education 

Private study, Leon Berkowitz studio, 

Washington, D.C., 1957-59 

Hans Hofmann studio, Provincetown, 

Massachusetts, Summers 1,957-59 

Columbia University, New York, 

1959-62, B.A. 

New York University, 1962-63, MA 

Selected Group Exhibitions 
and Performances 

The University of Iowa Museum of Art, 
University of Iowa, Iowa City, Two 
Evenings, July 31 and August 5, 1970 
Artists Space, New York, Persona, ApVil 
25, 1974 (performance) 
Whitney Museum of American Art, New 
York, 1975 Biennial of Contemporary 
American Art, January 20-April 9, 1975 
The Institute for Art and Urban Re- 
sources at P. S. 1 , Long Island City, New 
York, Rooms, P. S. 1, June 10-26, 1976 
Institute for Contemporary Art, Univer- 
sity of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, 
Improbable Furniture, March 10-Apnl 
10, 1977, Traveled to La Jolla Museum 
of Contemporary Art, May 20-July 6, 
1977; Museum of Contemporary Art, 
Chicago, July 21 -September 4, 1 977 
Rathaus. Kassel, West Germany, 
Documenta 6, June 27-30. 1977 
(performance) 

Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, 
A View of a Decade, September 10- 
November 10, 1977 

Selected One-Man Exhibitions 
and Performances 

Whitney Museum of American Art, New 
York, Group Behavior Tableaux, April 18 
and 19, 1972; American Theatre Lab, 
New York, October 27-29, 1972 (per- 
formance) 

Artists Space, New York [two chair 
pieces], December 6-27, 1975 
The Solomon R, Guggenheim Museum, 
New York, Pair Behavior Tableaux, 
February 24-April 4, 1976 (performance). 
Pamphlet with text by Linda Shearer 



SB: My work couldn't have existed in the sixties. My furniture is not 
Conceptual, but I see myself as an artist of the seventies in that 
Conceptual Art enabled me to find my own way as an artist. At that 
time, it freed art from having to be either painting or sculpture. I was 
able to start working in the late sixties through performance 
art, which, of course, is related to Conceptual Art. I'm also a Con- 
ceptual artist in that I don't do any of the actual constructing myself 
but have my pieces fabricated by someone else. But, of course, that is 
also a characteristic of Minimal Art. As a matter of fact, I think my 
tables and chairs must be indebted in some way to artists like Judd, 
Lewitt and Andre. I see them as artists of another generation, 
however, as part of a different tradition. I consider Judd's term 
"specific object" applies more accurately to my work than his own, 
which I see as sculpture. I do not consider my furniture pieces 
sculpture. The bronze chair (cat. no. 7) is a transitional piece be- 
cause it is still half image, not totally a specific object. Insofar as it is 
a replica, like Johns' beer can, it's part of the past. But my tables and 
chairs are informed by a life-long love and experience of sculpture, 
even though I had always made paintings and collages and had 
never made three-dimensional work before I did them. 

LS: What is it about furniture that appeals to you? How is your 
work related to real furniture? 

SB: I find furniture releases something in my imagination whereas 
painting and sculpture do not; I can't explain it. It was in 1973 that 
I was first able to begin the tables series— that is, table as table, rather 
than table within tableau or as found object. And after that, I started 
doing chairs. I give life-size drawings and cardboard models to 
craftsmen from the interior decoration world who build real furniture. 
Of course, what I'm gambling on is that no one trained in design 
would ever come up with the kind of furniture I make. I somehow 
see myself as an impersonator of design. But the decorative and 
applied arts have become extremely important to me: I see the 
beginning of some new and significant form of decorative art— for 
want of a better phrase— in work that is jewelry, wall decoration, 
murals, clothing and furniture. Not only have the decorative arts 
been a major source for me, but I'm vitally involved and interested in 
their capacity to expand beyond the art context, in the possibility 
of appreciating them on a level other than fine art. 

LS: What specifically are your sources? 

SB: First there are autobiographical, personal sources. I have a life- 
long obsession with furniture; I can't really explain it. but I recognize 
it. My most important intellectual source and inspiration are the 
Russians, Tatlin, Rodchenko and Lissitzky, and what they did after 
the Revolution. They laid down their brushes and went out to do 
applied art, art for the people. Of course, those were revolutionary 
times and we're not in even a vaguely similar situation now. The 



19 




7 Bronze Chair 19/ 



20 



Droll/Kolbert Gallery, Inc., New York 
[tables and chairs], November 15- 
December 3, 1977 

Selected Bibliography 

Edit de Ak and Walter Robinson, "An 
Article on Scott Burton in the Form of a 
Resume," Art-Rite, issue no. eight, 
Winter 1975, pp. 8-10 
Scott Burton [Documentations of 
Furniture Landscape, Furniture Pieces, 
Chair Drama], TriQuarterly 32, 
Winter 1975, n. p. 

Robert Pincus-Witten, "Scott Burton: 
Conceptual Performance as Sculpture," . 
Arts Magazine, vol. 51 , no. 1 , September 
1 976, pp. 112-11 7; reprinted in Pincus- 
Witten, Postminimalism, American Art * 
of the Decade, New York, 1 978, 
pp. 175-185 



Bauhaus has also been important to me because there they believed 
that art and craft were unified. 

And there have been other great confirmations for me: the quilt 
show at the Whitney and the Navajo rug exhibition at the Brooklyn 
Museum in the early seventies; late Matisse decoration: Warhol's 
wallpaper also. And in other ways, Diane Arbus' photograph of a 
Levittown living room — a meditation on furniture; Philip Johnson's 
glass house. 

LS: Since you're making objects which are recognizable and 
functional, part of the popular culture, I wonder if Pop Art has 
influenced you in any way? 



Checklist 

7 Bronze Chair. 1 975 
Bronze, 42 x 18 x 20" 
Cast no. 2/2 
Collection Donald Droll 

8 Untitled. 1 975-77 

Lacquered wood, 30 x 35% x 35%' 
Courtesy Droll/Kolbert Gallery 

9 Spattered Table. 1 977 
Painted and lacquered wood, 
18 x 35 x 17" 

Courtesy Droll/Kolbert Gallery 

1 10 Child's Table and Chair. 1978 
Chair: lacquered wood with fabric 
and rubber, 27 x 12 x 12", table: 
lacquered wood and steel, 21 x 
22 x 17" 

Brooks Jackson Gallery tolas. 
New York 




Untitled. 1975-77 



21 



SB: I suppose I couldn't have existed without Pop Art either. For 
example, my bronze chair is cast from the cheapest kind of fake 
Queen Anne-Grand Rapids mass-produced chair. So I have a 
definite attraction to the Pop vernacular, to ordinary, even unworthy 
things But I think there is a major difference from Pop in that I 
don't mean my work to be ironic— there's no parody in it. The styles 
I use are genuinely beautiful to me Also, Pop Art borrows its styles 
and I have by now gone beyond this idea of pastiche to my own 
style— which I actually consider "style-less." 

After making the individual chairs and tables, I started to design 
chair and table ensembles. I'm working on my first ensemble— 
a child's chair and table (cat no 10) right now Then I want to do 
a suite with several chairs and a table Eventually, I hope to do rooms 
and whole houses, as well as public areas, like theater lobbies or 
company cafeterias I want my furniture to function within environ- 
mental ensembles 

LS: How does your furniture function in a social context 9 

SB: I want the furniture to be a factor in the behavioral dynamics of 
a social situation. For example, when two, three or four sit at the 
black table (cat no 8), they'll be quite close together. So that, 
although the table aims at a certain massiveness, it will force a 
psychological intimacy on the people who are sitting at it. So, by 
controlling the distance between people as they sit at my table, I am 
making a conscious effort to adapt what I know about behavioral 
dynamics to the design of my furniture. 

LS: Do you expect people to react to your pieces as design or 
sculpture 9 

SB: My chairs and tables are independent, specific objects that you 
can walk around to look at from all sides: I want them to have 
presence So, in many ways, I have a very sculptural definition of the 
furniture I want the work to be forceful but not have too much 
tension I designed the furniture with the intention that people like it. 
I attempt to arrive at some relation to human proportions in order to 
make it as comfortable as possible— and functional, of course But 
people have said of my work— and it surprised me— that it's difficult, 
formidable, uninviting. And insofar as the furniture is like me, it's 
probably not ingratiating enough. This is a personal contradiction 
of artist as decorator. But, there's another important contradiction in 
art as decoration— a social one. There are three kinds of decoration, 
wealthy class, middle class and working class. Gallery clients are 
middle to wealthy class, but the true potential importance of a new 
movement of artists' decoration would be on a broader, economic 
scale, on a public scale 



22 




9. Spattered Table. 1 977 



23 



John Egner 



Born in Philadelphia, 1940 
Lives in Detroit 

Education 

Franklin and Marshall College, 

Lancaster, Pennsylvania, 1958-59 

The Art Students League of New York. 

Summer 1959 

Philadelphia Museum College of Art, 

1959-63, B F A 

Brooklyn Museum Art School, Fall 1963 

Yale University, School of Art, 

New Haven, 1964-66, M F A 

Selected Group Exhibitions 

Vernon L Bobbitt Visual Arts Center, 
Albion College, Albion, Michigan, Fred 
Brian, John Egner, John Glick, 
October 1-26, 1967 
Dianne Vanderlip Gallery, Philadelphia 
[Group Exhibition], Fall 1968 
Art School Slusser Gallery, The Uni- 
versity of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Detroit 
Art Today—Diverse Directions, 
September 22-October 10, 1974 

The Detroit Institute of Arts, 1974-75 

Michigan Focus, December 6, 1974- 

February 9, 1975 

Kresge Art Center, Michigan State 

University. East Lansing, The 4th 

Michigan Artists' Biennial, 

March 2-23, 1975 

Willis Gallery, Detroit, William Antonow, 

John Egner, Steve Foust. Gordon 

Newton, September 1975 

The Detroit Institute of Arts, Works in 

Progress. Part 2, October 8-31 , 1976 

Susanne Hilberry Gallery Inc., 

Birmingham. Michigan, Opening 

Exhibition, December 10, 1976- 

January 1 5, 1977 

One-Man Exhibitions 

Willis Gallery, Detroit, Fall 1971 

Willis Gallery, Detroit, Fall 1972 

Community Arts Gallery, Wayne State 

University, Detroit, November 17- 

December 8, 1974 

Susanne Hilberry Gallery Inc., 

Birmingham. Michigan. October 15- 

November 12, 1977 



JE: I would assume my work is unique to the seventies just because 
it's being done in the seventies and I'm certainly acutely aware of 
what's happened in both the sixties and seventies. But really, I 
see my work as being deeply influenced by everything that's gone on 
before in the history of art. There are lots of words you could use 
to describe my art— such as synthetic or eclectic— and I don't mean 
that in a peprative sense, obviously, since I'm talking about 
my own work 

I have a million answers to a question about specific influences. I 
could talk for hours about that. I can't point to one individual; rather 
I'm interested in everything. I've got a hungry eye I look at all 
things from all periods in history. The more complex the art, the 
richer in both plastic and literary terms it is. the more I like it. I have 
sat and read my own art as if it were a book by somebody else 
I've seen parallels in my work to all kinds of occurrences in nature, 
history and my personal life I think my art is loaded with metaphor, 
mixed metaphors It's that kind of confusion that I think my work 
shares with Cubism I see my work as a kind of classical 
Cubist statement 

I still don't understand Cubism or I wouldn't be playing with it And 
my work shares with it some of the tntest things that people used 
to say Cubism was about: fragmentation and simultaneous multiple 
views of things. It doesn't have the kind of contiguous space that 
one expects, but really it is a fragmented, changing, abruptly 
moving spatial situation. My pieces do have some sense of plane- 
there might be eight depths or twelve depths. It's not something 
I count or calculate, but it is something defined and crisp that has to 
do with the picture plane. The picture plane— that's a concept I 
never really understood. I read Hans Hofmann on this son! of thing 
many, many times. I spouted the rhetoric and I still didn't 
understand it 

LS: You seem to be saying that it's more important for you in some 
way to misunderstand, rather than understand your sources. 

JE: I have a real problem with the word "understanding " Under- 
standing is a word that the layman always uses when he confronts 
art— he says "I don't understand it " Well, I think the art that has 
moved me most profoundly has been that which I have not under- 
stood So I don't see the experience of art as an experience of trying 
to understand. Although it might be one of trying to understand, 
I'm hoping never to, because once you understand, you don't need 
it anymore 

LS: Can you be specific 9 What art has been both stimulating and 
incomprehensible to you 9 

JE: Well, I've been chasing Stella around for fifteen years and still 
feel I am, but with real differences now When I look af Stellas 



24 




11. Windmill. 1977 
12 Monster. 1977 






iJls 









. *:v - # ■ T ■<■ :"■ 






-\ 



'trows*"-' 
1^ ' >•- 



25 



Selected Bibliography 

"John Egner, interview by Diane 

Spodarek," delroit artists monthly, 

vol two, no eight. October 1977, 

pp 3-4, 13-14 

Robert Pmcus-Witten. "Detroit Notes 

Islands in the Blight," Arts Magazine, 

vol 52, no 6, February 1978, 

pp 137-143 

Checklist 

11 Windmill 1977 

Wood and spray paint, 48 x 53" 
Courtesy Susanne Hilberry Gallery, 
Birmingham, Michigan 

1 14 GS 1978 

Wood and spray paint, 60 x 60" 
Courtesy Susanne Hilberry Gallery, 
Birmingham, Michigan 

12 Monster 1977 

Wood and spray paint, 47 x 53" 
Courtesy Susanne Hilberry Gallery, 
Birmingham, Michigan 

13 Interceptor 1977 

Wood and spray paint, 27 x 41" 
Courtesy Susanne Hilberry Gallery, 
Birmingham, Michigan 



today, the aspect that most disturbs me is that they are so frontal- 
like stage sets. Although you can go to the side and see the super- 
structure revealed, it's still an art that has a front face. And like 
all painting, it has a stretcher or superstructure that I don't consider 
to be crucial to the piece I feel that in my work the back is usually as 
good as the front, it's all art It only takes one cut of the saw to 
make the back the front. I |ust like to think that every ounce of my 
work that goes on the wall is art, and there's no structure holding it 
there. It's somehow sculpture that finds itself slapped on a wall— 
the image of a Shaker chair hung on a peg just came to mind 

LS: How do you make your work 7 Do you feel that an active, per- 
sonal involvement with the ob|ect itself is an important aspect 
of your work? 

JE: I work with wood. They're complex pieces, made with a number 
of small elements. I call them reliefs because, in fact, they are 
They're usually about three inches deep and the largest dimension is 
no more than seven feet or so They are made by assembling a grid 
or several grids, cutting those grids in half and putting them to- 
gether with other halves of other grids, and then again cutting that 
assemblage and reassembling it with others— "inter-collagmg" or 
intercutting many pieces with one another 

What artist doesn't think of the day he might be able to say to an 
assistant "Go over and cut those hundred pieces of wood and stick 
them to those other hundred pieces of wood 7 " That would be nice, 
but I know that all my choices are made with materials in my hands 
I might try to make a choice ahead of time, but usually I'll find 
myself actually standing there with some wood in my hand and 
I just cut it the way I want to at that moment. It's improvisational. 

LS: Then you rely on an improvisational process to arrive at a 
complex formal unity in your work 7 

JE: Yes, but I think there is a kind of dissonance about the work 
I don't want to keep harping on Stella, but there's another lesson 
I learned from him I was looking at his Protractor paintings when he 
first did them I was trying to figure out the color and came away 
deciding that you can't do anything wrong with color: I thought that 
was what he was saying, and it's a lesson I've never forgotten Id 
hate to characterize my attitude simply as "you can't do anything 
wrong," but I certainly feel liberated when I'm working and I don't 
worry about whether this looks good with that 

LS: But aren't you nonetheless saying that the intuitive process 
contributes to the resolution of the rigid structural problems your 
work presents? 

JE: I think the art I love and respect most is that which somehow 
really reflects the world— as John Cage would say, that which copies 



26 




13. Interceptor. 1977 



nature and the manner of her operation as well as, or instead of, 
her appearance You look at the world and you see how mad it is, and 
if you want your art to reflect that madness, you have to make 
choices in your art out of a similar kind of capriciousness. An example 
I use in teaching is when you can look up at the sky through the 
trees and say "It's beautiful." Well, the tree didn't ask the sky if it 
could be in front of it. The clouds go one way, the tree goes the 
other way. They're not cooperating visually, but they look wonderful 
together. In the same way I can make this grid, I can make that grid; 
I can somehow, all of a sudden, put them together in this most 
awkward way and it doesn't really matter too much how at that 
particular moment. If they both have integrity, they're going to 
work together 



27 



Denise Green 



Born in Melbourne, Australia, 1946 
Lives in New York City 

Education 

Ecole Nationale Supeneure des Beaux- 
Arts, Pans, 1966-69 

Universite de Paris, Sorbonne, 1969, B.A. 
Hunter College, New York, 1969-76, 
MFA 

Selected Group Exhibitions 
Bard College. Annandale-on-Hudson, 
New York, Paintings on Paper, 
November 4-December 8, 1972 
The Aldrich Museum of Contemporary 
Art, Ridgefield, Connecticut, Contempo- 
rary Reflections, April 21 - 
August 18, 1974 

Women's Interart Center, New York, 
Inside/ Outside, February 27-March 
30, 1975 

Holly Solomon Gallery, New York 
[Opening Group Exhibition], opened 
September 6, 1975 

Art Gallery of New South Wales. Sydney, 
Power Gallery of Contemporary Art/ 
Acquisitions 1973-75, August 7- 
September 7, 1975 
Sarah Lawrence College Art Gallery, 
Sarah Lawrence College, Bronxville, 
New York, 24 x 24. February 24- 
March 14, 1976 

Max Protetch Gallery, New York [Group 
Exhibition], September 1976 
Max Protetch, Washington, D C , Brice 
Marden, Jerry Clapsaddle, Denise Green, 
opened April 16, 1977 
The Institute for Art and Urban Re- 
sources at P. S. 1 , Long Island City. New 
York. A Painting Show, May 1-29, 1977 
Bonomo Diffusione Arte, Ban, Italy, 
Denise Green, Kazuko Miyamoto: 
Disegni, January 21 -February 25, 1978 
Protetch-Mclntosh, Washington, DC, 
The Minimal Image, March 7- 
April 5, 1978 

One-Woman Exhibitions 
98 Greene Street Loft, New York, 
September' 18-October 5, 1973 
Whitney Museum Art Resources Center, 
New York, May 1-15. 1975 



DG: I certainly could not have done my present work during the 
sixties. However, my work does share and derive from a kind of self- 
consciousness that was very much part of the sixties, although for a 
time I resented what I felt was an attitude of smug elitism prevalent 
in that decade. The increasing disillusionment and eventual loss of 
hope that took place— the collapse of what the sixties were all about— 
ironically is the part of the sixties that affected me most, 

I think of the sixties in terms of two very broad trends: the intel- 
lectual/conceptual work that took a number of forms, including 
process and body art, and the formalist tradition Today there has 
been a fusion of these two directions— and this is not just a mechanical 
and unquestioning synthesis of the past. Artists were involved in a 
highly self -critical search for a kind of moral ground for their work, 
by which I mean that what you do is what you believe. 

LS: But don't you think the art of the sixties was made with the 
same sense of moral conviction? 

DG: Yes, but the sixties was a time in which moral convictions were 
applied more to the systems and processes of external experience 
Now I think this conviction has to do with internal experience But 
I don't want to suggest that this internalization produces auto- 
biographical or confessional art I want to acknowledge in my work 
my own personal experience, a larger experience that relates to the 
activity of painting itself, and beyond this, an awareness of my place 
in the context of other art 

LS: Who has influenced you 9 

DG: Naturally, many of my own friends and peers are very important 
to me I would include Rothko and Newman along with Cezanne 
and Matisse as among my ma]or sources in the art of the past. Out- 
side of painting, I would cite Tony Smith and Robert Morris, I was 
recently in Europe and visited Tarqumia to see the Etruscan tomb 
paintings: I also saw Giotto. My trip to Europe was in some ways a 
quest for material that I could relate to, that had some substance 
for me. Substance is a really important word for me. 

LS: How do you achieve what you call substance? 

DG: I start with specific intentions, but then usually bypass or 
contradict them My process then becomes one of groping and re- 
acting until something emerges which somehow surprises me. For 
example, that I came up with the form of a trapdoor (cat. no 15) 
was surprising, given my leaning towards abstraction. This form is 
not meant to realistically depict a trapdoor: it is both an abstracted 
image of the ob|ect and a representation of an idea— in this case the 
idea of an obstacle While I often select my images from the ob|ects 
that surround me, these images must work in an abstract way and 
must also connect as ideas with my personal identity. These con- 
nections interest me. The |ug or vessel (cat. no. 1 7) is an appropriate 



28 



Hogarth Galleries, Sydney, opened 
July 2, 1975 

Ray Hughes Gallery, Brisbane, Australia, 
September 27-October 16, 1975 
Max Protetch Gallery, New .York, 
October 2-23, 1976 
Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane, 
Australia, 20 Recent Drawings, August 
22-September 3, 1977. Traveled to 
Coventry Gallery, Paddington, Septem- 
ber 6-24, 1 977; Royal Melbourne Insti- 
tute of Technology, School of Art Gallery, 
October 10-28, 1977 



Checklist 

15 Trapdoor. 1976 

Acrylic on canvas, 48 x 48" 
Lent by the artist, courtesy Max 
Protetch Gallery, New York 

16 Origin is the Goal. 1977 

Oil, wax and crayon on canvas, 
60 x 60" 

Lent by the artist, courtesy Max 
Protetch Gallery, New York 




15. Trapdoor. 1976 



17 What if She Dreams. 1977 
Oil, wax and crayon on canvas, 
60 x 60" 

Lent by the artist, courtesy Max 
Protetch Gallery, New York 

1 18 To Draw On. 1977 

Oil, wax, and crayon on canvas, 
60 x 60" 

Lent by the artist, courtesy Max 
Protetch Gallery, New York 



image because paintings are vessels which carry emotions and ideas 
And in the past women throughout history have been identified 
with vessels in the sense that they too can carry things— an idea 
expressed in annunciation scenes, which always contain vessels. But 
then a vessel also has the connotation of voyage and travel, so I 
can explore meaning in a multiplicity of ways. But I am equally 
concerned with formal ideas about how a painting is structured and 
how a surface is made, how it's painted and how drawing is 
executed. I place the esthetic experience above all— it's the priority 
because it's what moves you, it's what really communicates on an 
emotional level. 

LS: Do you consider that your work is accessible? 

DG: Necessity is a very important part of my esthetic. By that I 
mean there is a sense that every element in the work must belong 
there. I hope that the viewer feels this quality of necessity and re- 
sponds to it. Equally, I want the viewer to sense my decision-making 
process and thus, in a way, participate in it. For example, I feel there 
is a certain logic in my painting of the grid— the lines are based on 
the proportions of the stretcher itself. I hope anyone willing to make 
the effort will be able to understand the logic of my decisions. 



29 




16. Origin is the Goal. 1977 



30 




1 7. What it She Dreams 1 977 



31 



Bryan Hunt 



Born in Terre Haute, Indiana, 1947 
Lives in New York City 

Education 

University of South Florida, Tampa, 

1966-68 

Otis Art Institute of Los Angeles, 

1969-71 

Whitney Museum of American Art, New 
York. Independent Study, Spring 1972 

Selected Group Exhibitions 
Portland Center for the Visual Arts, 
Oregon, Via Los Angeles, January 8- 
February 8, 1976 

Willard Gallery, New York, Selections, 
February 7-fvlarch 4, 1976 
The Institute for Art and Urban Re- 
sources at P. S. 1 , Long Island City, New 
York, Pro/ects for the Seventies, 
October 9-November 6, 1977 Will travel 
internationally until 1 979 
Daniel Weinberg Gallery, San Francisco, 
Up Against the Wall, January 28- 
February 25, 1 978 
Vassar College Art Gallery, Pough- 
keepsie, New York, Jenny, Hunt, Lane, 
Rothenberg, Shapiro. April 9- 
June 4. 1978 

One-Man Exhibitions 
The Institute for Art and Urban Re- 
sources at the Clocktower, New York, 
October 17-November 16, 1974 
Jack Glenn Gallery. Corona del Mar, 
California, December 7, 1974-January 
12, 1975 

Palais des Beaux-Arts, Brussels, 
March 29-Apnl 13, 1976 
Daniel Weinberg Gallery, San Francisco, 
July 10-August 7, 1976 
Blum-Helman Gallery, New York, 
March 15-Apnl 16, 1977 
Blum-Helman Gallery, New York, 
April 17-May 13. 1978 
Daniel Weinberg Gallery. San Francisco, 
July 9-September 8, 1978 

Selected Bibliography 

Jeanne Siegel, "Bryan Hunt," Arts 

Magazine, vol. 51 , no 9, May 1977. p. 20 



BH: It seems to me that the sixties were characterized by an impulse 
on the part of artists to-do work that was defined, at least in part, 
by a connection to a group effort or direction. Minimal sculpture, for 
instance, seems to me to work within, or because of, the boundaries 
of a clearly defined art form. It's geometric and sometimes mathe- 
matical; it relates to itself. It seems logical, then, that the seventies 
would tend to reverse that idea, and to personalize art more overtly. 
At any rate, Minimal sculpture was really a foundation for me. I like 
the idea of having a simplified shape, one that can be understood 
easily, and yet suggests geometric or even mathematical properties 
Then after this beginning, I'm interested in the expansion of the 
ob|ect 

LS: Could you elaborate on this process? 

BH: I look for things and images that expand in their own way. For 
example, a lake is a contained form (see illus). As an idea, it is a 
volume of water, but as an image, it's a volume of water with 
specific characteristics, like a bottom, a shoreline and a surface. My 
lakes are a combination of the visual image, which is what you see, 
and the idea, which is what you know about it. Even though they 
pose very different problems for me, I think my waterfalls (for 
example, cat. nos 20 to 24) illustrate the same point. A waterfall is, 
on the one hand, just a quantity of falling water, but it becomes 
interesting to me when I abstract and recreate in sculptural terms 
my conceptual knowledge of it 

LS: Are the decisions which govern your re-creations primarily 
esthetic, connected to the experience of your sculpture? 



Edison 1976, Bronze, 34 x 12 x 5'/ 2 " 
Courtesy Blum-Helman Gallery, New York 




32 



20. Step Falls. 1977 



21. First Falls /. 1977 





* - 

- 

V 





19 King Crest 1976 




34 



Checklist 

19 King Crest. 1976 

Spruce wood, silk, aluminum leaf, 
8 x 64 x 7" 
Collection of the artist 

20 Step Falls. 1977 
Plaster, 9' 6" x 12" x 12" 
Courtesy Blum-Helman Gallery, 
New York 

not in exhibition 

21 First Falls I. 1977 
Plaster, 9' 4" x 1 0" x 3" 
Courtesy Blum-Helman Gallery, 
New York 

not in exhibition 

1 22 First Falls II. 1 978 

Bronze, 9' 4" x 10" x 3" 
Cast no 1/3 

Courtesy Blum-Helman Gallery, 
New York 

t23 Untitled. 1978 

Plaster with limestone base, 
52 x 9 x 9" 

Courtesy Blum-Helman Gallery, 
New York 

1 24 Big Twist. 1 978 

Bronze, 12' x 18" x 18" 
Cast no, 1/3 

Courtesy Blum-Helman Gallery, 
New York 



BH: When I'm making a decision about my work, I think only of 
how it exists sculpturally. Let's take the airships (cat. no. 19). I saw 
in them the potential for a perceptual experience of latent energy 
that could create a very real kind of sculptural presence. Eventually, 
I realized what most compelled me about the airship was the object 
quality of its structure in a state of suspension. In reality and as an 
image in my mind, it just sits there. This is what made it sculpturally 
exciting and was the feeling I was trying to get by extending it out 
from the wall, above the viewer's head. 

That's when I started the lakes. Because lakes are flat on the earth 
they are entirely different from the airships. So, in terms of sculpture, 
I felt it was exciting because when an artist thinks of flat sculpture, 
it's generally in terms of a Minimal concept. But then I decided to put 
a bottom on it; that made it right for me and different from Minimal 
sculpture. It existed on the floor on its own plane, but was still 
referentially flat; that was the kind of dialogue I wanted. The 
passivity of the lake's surface led me into the articulation of a 
subdued surface. And from there I was drawn to the fall, primarily 
because it's vertical and active 

LS: Are we putting too much emphasis on this process of discover- 
ing an image 9 

BH: Perhaps. I don't think I'm as much interested in manipulating 
the idea of what a waterfall is, as much as broadening the idea of 
sculpture, or creating my own statement out of the sculpture. I do a 
lot of looking for images or situations, but I look also for interrelating 
ideas that can lead to a new piece. I find it intimidating to think in 
terms of The Waterfall. I'm not trying to get at the essence of 
waterfall I don't think that's sculpturally possible. I'm only inter- 
ested in a dynamic and a form and the way they connect. I'm always 
thinking in terms of threads and connections. 

LS: But don't these connections inevitably come into conflict with 
one another? 

BH: Yes, particularly in terms of the ideas associated with the 
specific image that I have chosen and those intuitive decisions I 
have to make in order to get at those personal connections and 
associations I want in the work In my earlier pieces, I was interested 
exclusively in ideas like scale and internal relationships. After I 
selected the images, they made their own decisions. Nothing in the 
form looked spontaneous or intuitive. Gradually I began to think 
differently about what I was doing. My role in developing the form 
became much more visible. When I made the airships, I left their 
surfaces tight and impersonal but I worked over the lake surfaces 
in a free, almost gestural manner to subtly articulate them. In the 
falls, the surfaces show more gesture. In this way I have progressively 
attempted to resolve the conflict between the conceptual properties 
of my work and my intuitive decisions. 



35 



Marilyn Lenkowsky 



Born in New York City, 1947 

Lives in New York City 

Education 

Hunter College, New York, 1964-73, 

BFA 

Selected Group Exhibitions 

Susan Caldwell Gallery, New York, 
Marilyn Lenkowsky. David Reed, 
Herbert Schilfrin. March 23-Apnl 1 7, 
1974 

Paula Cooper Gallery, New York, 
Marilyn Lenkowsky, Elizabeth Murray, 
John Torreano, April 6-May 1 , 1 974 
Whitney Museum of American Art, New 
York, 7 975 Biennial of Contemporary 
American Art, January 20-Apnl 9, 1975 
The Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington. 
D.C., 34th Biennial of Contemporary 
American Painting, February 22- 
April 6, 1975 

Michael Walls Gallery, New York, Thirty 
Artists in America: Part I, June 7- 
July 3, 1975 

Fine Arts Gallery, California State 
University, Los Angeles, New York/ 
New York, October 4-28, 1 976 
Susanne Hilberry Gallery Inc., Birming- 
ham, Michigan, Opening Exhibition, 
December 10, 1976-January 15. 1977 
The Institute for Art and Urban Re- 
sources at PS 1 Long Island City, New 
York. A Painting Show, May 1 -29, 1 977 

Woods Gerry Gallery, Rhode Island 

School of Design, Providence, Space 

Window', September 14-October 

6, 1977 

Daniel Weinberg Gallery, San Francisco, 

Up Against the Wall, January 28- 

February 25, 1978 



ML: In general, the situation now seems far more open than in the 
sixties It seems as if younger artists today are more conscious of their 
freedom, or perhaps less conscious of restriction. Today, for example, 
it doesn't matter for me if my work is considered painting, sculpture 
or something in between The fact that these categories are breaking 
down in this way certainly seems characteristic of the seventies. 
I use oil paint because it offers me an experience that's rich, but I 
often think about working in other forms, like welding steel or 
making films. While I do see myself more as a painter, I like to keep 
my options open 

LS: What sort of work are you doing now? 

ML: The work I'm doing now fits in corners; it's oil paint on canvas 
with wood structures underneath I draw the structure out to get the 
edges, so the edges become very important and strong The pieces 
are human scale, with a few exceptions. They hang close to the floor 
and since they extend out from the wall, they make shadows on the 
floor Usually they're one color, sometimes two, the paint is brushed 
on in a way that creates a modulated, almost broken surface. The 
structure is usually triangular I find the triangle a wonderful form, 
I am especially interested in the fact that it pulls up vertically and at 
the same time seems to be strongly weighted down: it almost appears 
to be floating and yet it is so heavy I'm also interested in the tension 
in the point at the top, the central spine and the edges. The edges 
fascinate me, as I've said, it sometimes seems as though there isn't 
any kind of mark that is as strong as the edge itself When I first made 
a triangular shape, it shocked me. But it has sustained me for a long 
time 

LS: Despite the importance of this triangular form, you say you 
consider yourself a painter. Does this mean you're more concerned 
with the process of painting than with the very specific physical 
structure you use 9 

ML: I would have to say that I'm more involved with the process of 
painting, that is, with the paint surface I make The structure evolved 
simply from the need to find a support I liked working on. And, 
although I have no ob|ection to flat, rectangular canvases— which I 
could well go back to again— the triangular form works well for me 
and allows me to do the kinds of things I want 

LS: Do you feel that the highly reductive form of your paintings 
relates them to Minimal Art 7 

ML: I've always responded to work that was very reduced and clear- 
but very personal The most obvious difference between my painting 
and Minimal Art is that my work reflects process I want to com- 
municate whatever takes place while I'm making a piece. 

Once I said that my pieces confront the viewer Now I'm not sure I 
like the sound of that because it seems aggressive and I don't see my 



36 



Checklist 



25 Untitled. 1 974 

Oil on canvas, 96 x 1 1 '/ 2 x 1 1 " 
Courtesy Susanne Hilberry Gallery, 
Birmingham, Michigan 

f26 Boomerang. 1974 

Oil on canvas, 78 x 19 x 18" 
Sydney and Frances Lewis Collection 

27 Untitled (Dog Star). 1975 

Oil on canvas, 96 x 32 x 24" 
Courtesy Susanne Hilberry Gallery, 
Birmingham, Michigan 

28 Untitled. 1977 

Oil on canvas, 69 x 40 x 7" 
Collection of the artist 



25. Untitled. 1974 




37 




27 Untitled (Dog Star). 1975 



38 




28. Untitled. 1977 



work as being aggressive I prefer to think that it seems to meet you 
halfway. When I'm making a piece, I intuitively know when it's 
about to be finished— it begins to feel separate from me and then I 
can complete it A relationship, some sort of an exchange, develops 
between me and the ob|ect I hope that the viewer can experience a 
similar relationship. This is certainly not part of the Minimal 
experience 

LS: Is this relationship ultimately intuitive; how important are 
conscious formal decisions in your process? 

ML: Tony Smith has been an important influence on me. Even 
though his work is big, geometric sculpture and seemingly intel- 
lectual, there's something else happening in it. It's not about ideas 
alone. His sculptures are not only products of the mind; it's as if they 
come from some other place. It is that kind of effect that I want to 
achieve in my own work. My feeling is that art is basically mysterious, 
intangible— something your rational' mind simply can't partake of. 



39 



Robert Lawrance Lobe 



Born in Detroit, 1945 
Lives in New York City 

Education 

Oberlm College, Oberlm, Ohio, 

1963-67, B A 

Hunter College, New York, 1967-68 

Selected Group Exhibitions 
Whitney Museum of American Art, 
New York. Anti-Illusion; Procedures/ 
Materials. May 19-July 6, 1969 
The Detroit Institute of Arts, Other Ideas, 
September 10-October 19, 1969 
Whitney Museum of American Art, New 
York, 1970 Annual Exhibition: Con- 
temporary American Sculpture, 
December 12, 1970-February 7, 1971 
Bykert Gallery, New York, Sculpture by 
Robert Lobe, Drawings and Prints by 
Jan Dibbets, Eva Hesse, Ralph Hum- 
phrey, Brice Marden, Agnes Martin. 
David Novros. Dorothea Rockburne, 
Alan Saret, November 6-December 
2, 1971 

LoGiudice Gallery, New York [Group 
Exhibition], Winter 1972 
Whitney Museum of American Art, New 
York, 1973 Biennial Exhibition Con- 
temporary American Art, January 10- 
March 18. 1973 

The Museum of Modern Art, Art Lending 
Service, New York, 76 Jefferson, 
September 11 -December 1, 1975 
The Institute for Art and Urban Re- 
sources at P S. 1 , Long Island City, 
New York, A Month of Sundays, 
September 19-October 10. 1976 
Museum of Art, The Pennsylvania State 
University, University Park, The Material 
Dominant: Some Current Artists and 
Their Media, January 29-March 27, 1977 

One-Man Exhibitions 
Zabriskie Gallery, New York. 
September 10-October 5, 1974 
Hammarsk|old Plaza Sculpture Garden, 
New York, March 7-May 20, 1977 



RLL: While I don't think that my work is necessarily typical of the 
seventies, I do know that what I'm doing now would probably 
never have been done in the sixties. I think the seventies are a transi- 
tional time— it's really still the sixties winding down. In the sixties 
we were always reacting against things, and there were a lot of things 
that were easy to react against. Today there is more willingness to 
accept and assimilate into our thinking ideas not only from art, but 
from the widest range of experience. 

LS: Do you feel your own point of view has changed 9 

RLL: During the sixties, I saw myself somewhere between abstract 
and Conceptual Art I was trying to define my work in those terms 
Until approximately three years ago, I felt disconnected from every- 
thing, including my own sculpture. But, in the last three years, my 
work has started to come together. I didn't realize it at first, but 
I think I made this progress because I directed myself more openly 
toward subjects drawn from nature. I actually searched for them. 

LS: What motivated this determination to search for a new kind of 
subject matter? 

RLL: It was actually a lack of motivation It was based on a disil- 
lusionment with rationality, with geometry, with the intellect I 
realized that all the things that really are exciting about art, like 
accident, discovery and spontaneity, were simply not available to 
me. given my thinking at that time. 

When I went to Ireland in 1975, my ideas about nature collapsed. 
Until then I had been making wood sculptures, which I allowed to 
weather outdoors, where they acquired a beautiful patina. I had 
been mimicking a natural process — it was even competing with nature 
in a way— but this now became a very sentimental and useless idea 
for me. As a result, the work I tried to do in Ireland was a complete 
disaster; I couldn't make anything. I feel that what I'm doing now is 
observing nature I'm giving myself a certain distance. 

LS: Now that your attitude is one of detached observation, how has 
your work changed 9 

RLL: I've been looking more clearly at nature, looking for those 
things I sense have a direct relationship to me. I gradually realized 
that the kinds of shapes, the qualities of mass and density and the 
character of surface which most compelled me, I found in rock 
formations. Since everything about them seemed to make sense. I 
focused on rocks and studied them. I made drawings which at that 
time I thought were abstract. Now, looking back at them, I realize 
they are rather rock -like. Then I stopped drawing and spent a 
year making clay studies which I cast into stone, so I actually made 
my own rocks It then became apparent that it was more to the 
point to simply pick up rocks. 



40 




30. Tree Supporting Boulder. 1 977 



41 




31 Tree Supporting Boulder. 1977 

(cat. no. 30, Tree Supporting Boulder. 
1977, visible in background) 




42 



Selected Bibliography 
Jeanne Siegel, "Review of Exhibitions: 
New York, Robert Lobe at Zabriskie," 
Art in America, vol. 62. no Five, 
September-October 1974, pp. 105-106 

Roberta Smith, "Reviews: Robert Lobe, 
Zabriskie Gallery," Artforum, vol. XIII, 
no. 4, December 1974, p. 73 

Checklist 

1 29 Times Lost in Stone- 1 976 
Aluminum, 23V, x 24 x 17" 
Collection of the artist 

30 Tree Supporting Boulder. 1 977 
Aluminum, 78 x 83 x 55" 
Collection of the artist 

31 Tree Supporting Boulder. 1 977 
Oak, 85 x 78 x 49" 
Collection of the artist 

32 Bolted Together. 1 977 
Aluminum, 17'/ 2 x 19 x 15" 
Collection of the artist 

t33 Manhattan Schist 1977 

Aluminum, 137 x 87" diameter 
Collection of the artist 




32. Bolted Together. 1977 



43 



LS: Would any rock do, or are you concerned with the integrity of 
the individual rock? 

RLL: Originally there were certain rocks which I found inspiring 
because they seemed to embody so many of my concerns in sculp- 
ture I was looking for a surface that could convey my idea of mass, 
density and structure I called my sculptures of rocks "portraits" 
because I treated the rocks In them as if they were sentient. I think 
I even anthropomorphized them to some extent. But, as I said, my 
aim was basically to find ways of organizing surfaces so they 
would convey the type of volume and mass that I felt the rock was 
about I am no longer making portraits of rocks as individual entities. 
Now I am involved with showing relationships between entities and 
materials, I am concerned with rocks in general. At this point, 
any rock will do 

LS: Why did you decide to use aluminum after you made much of 
your earlier work in wood? 

RLL: I was interested in aluminum because I wanted to work with 
something that was very different from wood Also I wanted to do 
something that could be made more quickly than the wood pieces 
And hammering on the surface of the aluminum makes it somewhat 
resemble drawing So. in a way, the aluminum allows me to 
incorporate drawing in the sculpture. But, initially, I used it so I 
could work outside of my studio I could go out into nature and 
actually pound aluminum sheet around rocks. Instead of picking up 
rocks, I actually made a sculpture of a rock. Aluminum was also 
appealing because it is antithetical to what you might think of as 
natural And, of course, I still like wood, whereas I don't like steel 
Steel is for me too suggestive of skyscrapers, bridges and industry 
I think some sculptors have identified too closely with that kind of 
image in order to give their work strength 

LS: Despite your use of natural elements like the boulder and tree 
as sub|ect matter, do you consider yourself a formalist? 

RLL: Although I deal with representational images, I am a formalist 
in the most rudimentary sense, in that I am interested in abstract 
qualities such as shape, density and surface But I think my work is 
new in that I'm dealing with impurities, impure physical states, 
rather than pure ones. I always liked volumes that were structured in 
uneven ways, as a rock might be structured, with cleavages, faults 
and different types of densities So it is really because of my use of 
natural elements, not despite it, that I have been able to explore 
the formal possibilities of my work, to get at the things I think 
sculpture is about 



44 



Nachume Miller 

Born in Frankfurt, West Germany, 1949 
Lives in New York City 

Education 

Art Teachers Institute, Tel-Aviv, 1 966-69 
The School of Visual Arts, New York, 
1973-75, B. F. A. 

Selected Group Exhibitions 

Exhibited with 10 plus group in Israel, 

1969-73 

Yodfat Gallery, Tel-Aviv, 5 Painters, 

opened December 25, 1972 

112 Greene Street Gallery, New York, 

The Work of Nine School of Visual Arts 

June 1975 Graduates, June 28-July 10,- 

1975 

Rina Gallery, New York, Buky, Cohen- 

Gan, Doktori, Gitlin, Kadishman, Koren, 

Miller, Neustein, February 10- 

March 6, 1976 

One-Man Exhibition 

Rina Gallery, New York, Drawings, 

March 9-April 3, 1976 



NM: I think my work could have been done in the sixties, maybe 
even the fifties. It seems to share a similar sensibility and to deal with 
the same fundamental problems as much of the art of the fifties, 
but I think there's a basic difference in that sixties art was based in 
large part on a reaction against Abstract Expressionism. For instance, 
people like Rauschenberg and then the Pop artists appropriated 
certain elements from previously established movements like Dada, 
but always with a freshness of vision. But the artists of my genera- 
tion look to those of the sixties like Rauschenberg for solutions and 
a working vocabulary that we can now extend in new directions. 
I want to develop a very personal language so that everything I do 
will look like I did it, whether you call it a painting or a real object. 

LS: I know you consider yourself a painter. Is this a contradiction 
since you are working in real space with real objects? 

NM: I consider myself a painter because I feel my sources are in 
painting. Even though I use objects, I usually use them as a painter 
would, and not as a sculptor I'm never really interested in the three- 
dimensional quality of the work; I'm more concerned with flatness, 
looking at it and approaching it from the front, like a painter. Some 
of my objects are more sculptural than others, but I feel I deal with 
the three-dimensionality in a very painterly way . . . like a painter 
making an assemblage or collage by putting materials together 
and painting them over. The work always has a close relationship to 
the wall. I had wanted to get away from the wall in some earlier 
pieces, and they became extremely sculptural But the structure of 
these sculptures seemed to demand or compel a kind of artificial 
wall, so I eventually returned to using the real wall itself. 

I'm not interested in painting just for its own sake, but rather in 
creating some holistic, all-inclusive form that incorporates all the 
dimensions of my personality. I feel I am a very expressionistic 
artist and have always been influenced by all forms of expressionism. 
The immediate impact of the movies, technology, the media— 
anything from our surroundings— is very strongly and directly 
reflected in my work. The slide projections, for instance, which I have 
been using for the past four years, function explicitly to enrich the 
range of images I work with. They also are a metaphor for the 
additive process that is central to my work— the multiple, changing 
images stand for the way my mind generates, my eye picks up a 
series of ideas and images. And the slides allow me to depict space, 
objects, time, activities, painting, drawing, etc. on a flat surface, 
using the projections of light without the intervention of any tangible 
materials, such as paint, ink or charcoal. This medium has the 
special qualities of light, intangibility and illusion, a certain aura 
of mystery and magic, like that created by the old-fashioned magic 
lantern show. 

LS: When you refer to expressionism, you obviously are using the 
term in a very broad sense. Would you clarify your use of the word? 



45 




34 Studio Piece. 1 977 



46 



Checklist 

34 Studio Piece 1 977 
Acrylic, pencil, ink. mylar and 
encaustic on wood with cardboard 
chest, painted wood chair, glass, 
sculp-metal on cardboard and slide 
proiector. 11' 3" x 20' x 48" 
Collection of the artist 

35 Living Room Piece. 1977 

Acrylic, pencil, ink and encaustic on 
wood with painted wood table, 
plywood screen, glass, sculp-metal 
on plywood and slide projector, 
8' 8" x 14' x 48" 
Collection of the artist 

36 Table, Chair and Chest. 1 977 
Acrylic, pencil, ink, encaustic and 
paper and plywood collage on wood 
with wood chair, metal chest, 
glass, sculp-metal on plywood and 
slide projector, 5' 10" x 

10' 11" x 28" 
Collection of the artist 



NM: I see expressionism as the very general direction of my work. 
When I was a student, I was influenced by Surrealism, by Bacon, 
even Bosch, and, of course, Michelangelo and the Baroque artists. My 
idol in the twentieth century was always Picasso. His art is fasci- 
nating to me because he was able to use other people's work and 
capture, assimilate and personalize everything. I make a deliberate 
effort to establish references to other artists, to build on their 
achievements and integrate them into my work, evolving my own 
personal kind of construction. 

Turning specifically to contemporary artists who have influenced me, 
I would cite Rauschenberg, Johns, Twombly. as well as Beuys 
Rauschenberg's influence on me was very dominant at a certain 
time because of the way he dealt with the object and the painting, 
the illusion and the reality and the relation between them. His very 
free, often spontaneous handling of materials, and the richness 
of his images appealed to me. 

Now I'm looking closely at earlier abstract European art like Cubism. 
Mondnan and especially Klee. Klee, because his work is not purely 
formalistic; he deals on different levels with art, reality and sym- 
bolism, and even has a rather literary element that I like. I want my 
art to be a broad statement that is about more than just the painting. 

The problem that I have to face as a young artist is to maintain my 
connection with the past without becoming assimilated into the 
establishment or any other tradition. So I feel strongly that I should 
try to create a very personal art out of myself but be free to 
refer to the art of the past in my terms. 

LS: Although your work has the superficial appearance of environ- 
mental art, do you feel it is closer to the Cubist tradition of self- 
contained constructions? 

NM: Yes, it's closer, I think, to the Cubist tradition. I never like to 
use the word "environmental" because it refers very specifically to 
the sixties when conceptual and process-oriented artists transformed 
specific indoor or outdoor spaces. Even though I'm using some of 
this tradition in my work, I want my pieces to be very definite objects 
which exist by themselves and are not dependent on a particular 
environment. As a matter of fact, I have done some things that are 
close to environmental work, but recently my work tends to be a 
very traditional kind of object-painting. I don't even consider myself 
an avant-garde artist. 

LS: Can we extend this reference to Cubism by suggesting a parallel 
between your constructions and the art of assemblage and collage? 

NM: I feel that arranging the pieces is like arranging a room. I am 
referring to the specific series of interiors (cat. nos. 34 to 36). I take 
into account the very obvious necessities involved in arranging a 
room; for example, you put a bed in a bedroom or a chair in a dining 



47 



room Then there are those considerations that have more to do with 
your own taste and sensibility, such as what color to paint the wall 
and where to place a plant; that's clearly a different type of necessity. 
In the same way, when I construct the pieces. I'm trying to put 
certain elements of information together. Some of it is absolutely 
necessary and should be there, and some of it is more arbitrary and 
spontaneous. It is in this way that the work comes closest to 
assemblage. Above all, I try to leave the process open; I don't hide 
anything I do. I like people to see the genesis of the work. I often 
look at my work as a document of my activities. I don't like it to be 
seen as something that has been too planned or directed, even though 
it is always arranged with a certain logic. It is something I do as an 
everyday thing, and the result is the ob|ect, the painting we can 
perceive in the end. 



35 Living Room Piece. 1 977 




48 



LS: What precisely do you mean by perceive? How do you intend the 
viewer to interact with the objects? Do you expect them, for 
instance, to sit on the chairs? 

NM: In some pieces, that would be impossible because they're 
fragile. But in my imagination, I think of people getting in them, 
around them, touching them— just not moving anything. I work with a 
very human scale; my pieces are never too big. My work always 
bears a relation to an object for human use like a table or chair. I 
think the viewer can refer to my work not only in formal terms, but 
as a very human type of experience because of the familiar, everyday 
objects. And, in a way, it's even a didactic experience, because I try 
to include so much information, especially of an art-historical nature. 



36. Table, Chair and Chest. 1 977 




49 



Gordon Newton 



Born in Detroit. 1948 
Lives in Detroit 

Education 

Port Huron Community College. Port 

Huron. Michigan 

Society ot Arts and Crafts, Detroit 

Wayne State University, Detroit 

Selected Group Exhibitions 
The Detroit Institute of Arts, 58th Ex- 
hibition tor Michigan Artists. December 
15. 1970-February 7. 1971 
Willis Gallery. Detroit, Stan Dolega, 
Michael Luchs. Gordon Newton, 
April 1971 

M Knoedler & Co . Inc.. New York. 
Tony Berlant, Mario Dubsky, Sylvia 
Mangold, Cordon Newton, Susan 
Shatter, Sylvia Stone, Robert Swam, 
Lynton Wells, June 10-July 31, 1971 
The Detroit Institute of Arts, 12 State- 
ments Beyond the 60's. September 27- 
November 5. 1972 

Whitney Museum of American Art, New 
York, American Drawings 1963-1973. 
May 25-June 22. 1973 
Somerset Mall. Troy. Michigan, Cass 
Corridor Artists, September 4-14. 1975 
Willis Gallery, Detroit, Michigan, 
William Antonow, John Egner, Steve 
Foust, Gordon Newton, September 1975 
Macomb County Community College, 
Warren, Michigan, Michigan Sculpture 
77. March 20-Apnl 17, 1977 

One-Man Exhibition 

J L Hudson Gallery. Detroit. October 18- 
November 10, 1973. Catalogue with text 
by Frederick J. Cummings 

Selected Bibliography 

Robert Pmcus Witten, "Detroit Notes: 

Islands in Blight," Arts Magazine, 

vol 52, no 6, February 1978, 

pp. 137-143, repr. cover 



GN: During the sixties and even early seventies, there was an 
abundance of movements and groups, I feel the sixties provided us 
with some kind of foundation. You have to be educated before you 
can break away, you have to have something to use or misuse and 
disagree with It seems that social and cultural institutions have 
broken down. For example, it used to be that painting and sculpture 
were considered the highest forms of art, but now art has 
assumed many different forms and they are all being taken 
seriously. Because of this breakdown it's been necessary for artists to 
explore new ideas and alternatives. I think that this has made us 
feel more self-reliant and confident, willing to work independently 
and outside the tradition I like the idea of not being part of a move- 
ment, but rather being an individual working away, on my own. 

LS: How did the breakdown of traditions specifically affect your 
work? 

GN: In my earlier more abstract drawings, I was trying to focus on 
the medium of drawing so that it would be taken more seriously. 
But I turned to my ob|ects for two basic reasons: I wanted to have 
something I could keep working on every day in a totally unplanned 
way over a prolonged period. But, more importantly, I was interested 
in conveying a sense of physicality to the viewer and thus allowing 
him to project himself into the pieces in a way that a flat drawing 
doesn't allow 

LS: Although you are not trying to realistically depict specific 
objects, you are nonetheless giving your pieces names of specific 
things like "roller coasters" and "diving boards." 

GN: They're not supposed to be real; those are just names I use in a 
general way. I use them because I've always been fascinated by 
board games— where you open up a box and look inside to see all the 
parts The first roller coaster seems like an abstract game to me. 
In the second and third roller coasters. I wanted not to be realistic but 
to be a little more specific and also draw the viewer into the piece 
So to make them accessible and bring back memories. I included 
those small plastic "dodge-em" cars. I also see the subject as a 
metaphor— a roller coaster represents life's ups and downs, as well as 
the fact that you're always moving and traveling during a lifetime. 
The traumas in your life are indicated by the explosions in the 
coaster tracks. You've really got to keep your sense of humor 

LS: Tell me more about your interest in games and how they relate 
to your work 

GN: I don't really understand why I'm so drawn to games. I like the 
fact that roulette wheels and slot machines are so well made, that 
the wood is beautifully carved but worn down and that people 
become so obsessed and involved with them. I would like to think 
that my work evokes these sorts of associations. 



50 




41. Coaster III. 1977 



51 




38 Diving Board #3. 1 977 



LS: While you're interested in man-made objects, you're also con- 
cerned with natural elements. How do they relate to each other? 

GN: I begin each ot my proiects (I prefer to call my works "projects" 
instead of art) as a geometric shape and then alter it I see this 
process as being like nature taking over and changing the original 
form— or like man altering nature. I've been heavily influenced by the 
environment of Michigan— the pine trees, the Great Lakes, the 
cycles of nature that I see. I hope to suggest these cycles and the 
passage or even freezing of time in my work 

LS: Why do you choose certain materials? 

GN: I try to use materials that are going to work together. I find I 
seem to know intuitively what materials to use once I have an idea 
of what I'm going to make. I tried using fired ceramic clay, but that 
didn't work for me because it's too confining: it's water-based and as 
soon as it's exposed to air, it starts hardening and then cracks I like 
plasticine because it's pliable, although I was hesitant about using 
it at first because its properties change with changes in the 
temperature. 

LS: Is working out your ideas in series important to you? 

GN: Although I work from my emotions, I make things to solve or 
clarify problems If my answer is not clear the first time, I try to 
improve it the next time 



52 



Checklist 

37 Roan. 1977 

Wood, metal, polyester resin and 
paint, 104 x 42" 

Collection Faygo Beverage Corpora- 
tion, Detroit 

38 Diving Board #3. 1 977 
Plasticine, polyester resin, glass 
and paint, 14y 2 x 16'/ 2 x 7" 
Collection Mary Jane Jacob and 
Russell Lewis, Ann Arbor, Michigan 

1 39 Diving Board #4. 1 977 
Glass and polyester resin, 
10 '/ 2 x 343/„ x 8" 
Courtesy Feigenson-Rosenstein 
Gallery, Detroit 

t40 Roller Coaster #1 . 1977 

Plasticine, polyester resin, paint and 
mixed media on wood, 11 x 88 x 6" 
Collection Mr and Mrs, Jeffrey Miro 

41 Coaster III. 1 977 

Glass, plasticine, polyester resin, 
paint and mixed media on wood, 
36 x 30 x 12" 

Courtesy Feigenson-Rosenstein 
Gallery, Detroit 




37. Roan. 1977 



53 



Martin Puryear 



Born in Washington, D.C., 1941 
Lives in Washington. DC and 
Brooklyn. New York 

Education 

The Catholic University of America. 

1960-63, B.A 

Royal Academy of Art, Stockholm. 

1966-68 

Yale University, School of Art, 

New Haven, 1969-71, M.F.A 

Selected Group Exhibitions 

Fisk University Gallery of Art, Fisk 

University, Nashville, Tennessee, 

Stephanie Pogue and Martin Puryear. 

November 5-26, 1972 

University of Maryland Art Gallery, 

University of Maryland, College Park, 

Demonte, Puryear, Richer. Samuels, 

Willis. October 1-26. 1974 

Museum of Art. The Pennsylvania State 

University. University Park, The Material 

Dominant: Some Current Artists and 

Their Media. January 29-March 27. 1977 

Lewiston. New York, Art Park. 

August 4-September 1, 1977 

One-Man Exhibitions 

Grona Palletten Gallery, Stockholm, 

May 18-30, 1968 

Henri 2 Gallery, Washington, DC, 

January 8-February 4, 1972 

Henri 2 Gallery, Washington, DC, 

September 8-October 3, 1973 

The Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington. 

D C, July 29-September 1 8, 1 977 

Selected Bibliography 
David Bourdon, "Martin Puryear at Henri 
2." Art in America, vol 62, no 1, 
January-February 1974, p 110 
David Tannous [review of 1977 ex- 
hibition at The Corcoran Gallery of Art], 
Art in America, vol. 66, no. Three, 
May-June 1978 



MP: The sixties were important and especially rich in terms of art 
because so much opened up and this created a lot of possibilities 
I see the sixties as having been a time when artists could colonize 
different areas of reality for art Minimalism, for example, cultivated 
a distance, a sense of anonymity, so that you didn't get involved 
with any kind of signature or personal touch But that too just opens 
up your options, or at least it did for me. I remember being deeply 
impressed with the idea that a cube of a certain size could be a really 
powerful ob|ect and recognizing that I would like to make things 
like that In the complex life we lead, there are so few occasions to 
actually confront something as pure and direct as a cube of a given 
size 

A lot of my own thinking has always been about reducing things to 
some real core, a concrete kind of core. It's a tendency that I feel is a 
personal one and it was confirmed by Minimalism. In my earliest 
work, when I was really not even aware of being an artist, I was 
always selecting a single image and putting it in the middle of a 
picture What I'm focusing on now is discovering what is going to 
give the work validity on its own, in terms of some connection to a 
personal source. 

LS: How do you establish this kind of connection you refer to'' 

MP: Presently I'm very aware of trying to make particular kinds of 
ob|ects to create just the right sort of link between my world and 
myself More than ever, I feel this is a time for me to trust intuition 
For example, I feel better than ever about making things with my 
hands. I work with a certain awareness of putting materials together 
Since I was small, I've been a maker of things of all sorts, including 
tools, musical instruments, boats and furniture 

LS: Many of your pieces certainly look like tools. But, if they are 
tools, they are implements which suggest little or no utilitarian 
function 

MP: If they're tools, then their function is to effect visual responses— 
if I'm fortunate, spiritual responses, too They're ob|ects which I 
want to have survive on as many levels as possible. They are made to 
be felt, not to do physical work. There's a kind of principle which 
grows out of the needs of function. This can be admired in strictly 
utilitarian things, including organic nature— it results in a fullness of 
being within very strict limits— an inevitability, almost. The most 
powerful art for me has always contained something of this 
inevitability 

LS: Is the function of these tools essentially the exploration of your 
materials? 

MP: As I've said, my way of working, my personal inclination, is 
basically reductivist. And when I can, I prefer to work with materials 
close to their original state. I've worked with a lot of different 



54 



43. Bask. 1976 



materials, but I prefer wood, and I always come back to it. I feel at 
home with it. It's versatile. I've carved it of course, but now I'm most 
interested in the ways it can be used structurally. Even with the 
logic and joinery that this requires, the work can still be like nature 
in having a sense of its own growth contained in it. I want to ap- 
proach that kind of wholeness no matter how made or controlled it is. 

LS: Is it correct to say that despite the organic sense you wish to 
convey, your work depends to a high degree on careful planning, 
formal and technical manipulation? Do you feel that you can be at 
all spontaneous in your approach? 




_„. 



55 



42 Some Tales. 1975-78 



MP: Yes. because working with wood, for instance, often neces- 
sitates planning the thing out totally in advance, especially in certain 
pieces where I use cabinet-making techniques. There's not a lot of 
room for any form of spontaneity since you have to have it fairly 
well conceived beforehand. 

LS: How does the conceptual process work for you? 

MP: I can't conceive of a piece independently of my hands being at 
work The two things are really very intimately locked together— my 
actual manual manipulation and whatever concept I have However 
the actual conceptualization can happen at different stages For 
example, when I've carved I've been aware of digging around under 
the surface of the material and when I'd recognize what I was looking 
for I'd stop The thing shows itself near the end. but when I build 
or construct a piece I need to have what seems like a sixth sense 
about working, so I can conceive the thing in space, beforehand, 
totally, and then work backwards down to the details of how it's 
going to go together Whatever way I work my hope is the same— that 
the ob|ect should have a rationale which grows out of the making 
and points to the maker I want this rationale to be perceivable to 
the senses and not be simply cerebral. 




56 



Checklist 

42 Some Tales. 1 975-78 

Pine, ash, hickory, rawhide, multiple 
elements, longest element 24' 
Collection of the artist 

43 Bask. 1976 

Staved pine, 12" x 12' 2%" x 24" 
Collection of the artist 

t44 Self. 1978 

Polychromed wood, 68 x 52 x 28" 
Collection of the artist 

45 Drawing for Self. 1 978 
Pencil on paper, 1 1% x 9" 
Collection of the artist 
not in exhibition 



LS: Do you intend that your objects be seen as self-contained and 
referring only to themselves? 

MP: I think there are a number of levels at which my work can be 
dealt with and appreciated. It gives me pleasure to feel there's a 
level that doesn't require knowledge of, or immersion in the esthetic 
of a given time and place. I realize you can never totally escape 
this kind of thing, because art objects are linked to a given culture 
We aren't aware of what it was like to live in the Greek Cyclades 
3,000 years ago and what conditions produced Cycladic sculpture, 
but we cart certainly experience a sensual pleasure in these objects, 
even from a great distance. So I feel that real art can be appreciated 
on more than one level. 

My work should have meaning in a broader sense' I want to make 
ob|ects that somehow have their own history and their own reason 
for being and their own sense of themselves. I'm not concerned just 
with the object's formal meaning, although it should be an intelligible 
artifact, a thing of one's own culture and time. It's equally crucial 
that there exist in the work a recognition of the maker, of who I am 
In order to achieve this, ultimately I have to rely on myself. 



45 Drawing for "Self. " 1 978 




57 



Jenny Snider 



Born in New York City, 1944 
Lives in New York City 

Education 

Queens College, New York, 1961-63 
Yale University, School of Art 
New Haven, 1 963-66, B F A . M F A 

Selected Group Exhibitions 
Whitney Museum of American Art 
New York, 1972 Annual Exhibition, 
Contemporary American Painting, 
January 25-March 19, 1972 
The New Gallery, Cleveland, Frances 
Barth, Don Dudley. Tony Robbm, Jenny 
Snider, October 10-November 4, 1972 
Whitney Museum of American Art, New 
York, American Drawings 1963-1973, 
May 25-July 22, 1973 
Nancy Hoffman Gallery, New York, A 
Women's Group: Sarah Draney, Louise 
Fishman, Harmony Hammond, Patsy 
Norvell, Jenny Snider, January 5-24, 
1974 

Downtown Branch, Whitney Museum of 
American Art, New York, Continuing 
Abstraction in American Art, 
September 19-November 1, 1974 
The Womancenter, Boulder, Colorado, 
Preparatory Notes— Thinking Drawings, 
Part I, opened May 23, 1976, 80 Wash- 
ington Square East Gallery, New York 
University, Preparatory Notes— Thinking 
Drawings, Part II, February 16- 
March 11, 1977 

Artists Space. New York, New Art 
Exhibition Auction, January 7-22, 1 977 
55 Mercer Gallery, New York, Touching 
on Nature: Sarah Draney, Harmony 
Hammond, Ann Heimann, Jenny Snider, 
June 4-22, 1977 

One-Woman Exhibitions 

Paula Cooper Gallery, New York, Five 

(5) Movies by Jenny Snider, February 

26, 1976 

NAME Gallery, Chicago, opened 

May 13. 1977 

Bibliography 

Jenny Snider, Pencil Picture Dictionary, 
New York. A Head, Hand, Heart and 
Tooth Publication. 1973 



JS: During the sixties, the mapr influence on me was Abstract Ex- 
pressionism. That painting taught me my process and my approach 
to imagery. In a sense, it shielded me from the art of the sixties; it 
helped me ignore a lot that was going on then I remember making 
it my business not to learn many things I didn't handle my work with 
respect This was not in the tradition of Abstract Expressionism, 
but that was certainly my interpretation of it My most intense 
feeling at that time was of alienation, I felt definite about not 
being involved with any kind of non-painterly tradition. Although 
my focus and my basic premises were there in the very beginning, in 
the sixties, it truly came into being in the seventies. 

The primary experience of the seventies for me was the women's 
movement It formed a bridge for me It taught me how to relate my 
formal education to the very personal process of making art on a 
daily basis I had been using sources from outside of painting- 
textiles, folk decoration— for about two years And I got involved in 
a women's group. We all quite comcidentally were using grids to 
organize our work In talking and looking at it, certain differences 
in meaning and intention became clear It was through talks like 
this that I was able to get in touch with my content, my core. The 
grid gave way to an image that grew out of the process of marking 
and handiwork in general: a nervous line that was about writing, 
knitting, sewing, an image that was drawn horizontally and read like 
a narrative on the page 

LS: For some time now, you haven't been working on canvas or 
using paint Do you consider your work to be related to painting 
despite your reaction of traditional materials? 

JS: For the last five or six years, I've worked primarily on paper Its 
thinness and lightness seemed more hospitable to words and the 
word-inspired images I use In a sense, I've been looking for a 
vocabulary for my painting. But it only becomes painting when I 
build up the image in layers, one on top of the next. 

LS: What painters have been important to you 7 

JS: Right now, I've been looking at late nineteenth and twentieth- 
century painters, such as Cezanne. Matisse, Dove. Guston and Klee, 
among others 

LS: When you refer to Klee, I immediately think of your interest in 
pattern, repetition and calligraphic effects. What else is appealing 
to you 7 

JS: I also respond to his appreciation of the small and his sensi- 
tivity to exactly the right scale and material. He has an incredible 
sense of how many different materials you can use in one piece. 
His paintings become poems 

I've also always loved Guston's work. As a matter of fact, I feel very 
deprived that we can't see more of his earlier work more often. His 



58 



wmwM 





46. / Used to Be Color Blind. 1 977 



Checklist 

46 / Used to Be Color Blind. 1 977 
Craypa on paper, 2 sheets, each 
19% x 25 '/ 2 , total 19% x 51" 
Collection of the artist 

47 Salad Days. 1977 
Craypa on paper, 59 1 / 4 x 66" 
Collection of the artist 

not in exhibition 

48 Mr. Sleary's Circus. 1 977 
Craypa on paper. 59% x 96%" 
Collection of the artist 



work is a maior source of strength for me, especially in the way 
he uses paint and in the direct, almost ugly quality of his paintings. 

More recently and more specifically, I've been looking at Arthur 
Dove His work reminds me that large, clear areas of color can be 
unbelievably expressive. His use of landscape impressed me at a 
time when memories of hills, trees and fields in California and 
Georgia were a rich source of imagery for me. While these images 
came from my own experience, they also refer to other art. 

LS: I take it that the sources for your work right now are not ex- 
clusively naturalistic 

JS: There is a reference to books. I've been making books for a 
number of years now. Two of the new drawings (cat. nos. 48, 49) 
actually come from a small page in a book I made this summer. The 
combination of the pictures in the books and the words on the pages 
are very important, as is the relationship of handwriting to a picture 



59 




47 Salad Days 1977 



t49 Booklearnmg. 1978 

Craypa on paper, 60 x 132" 
Collection of the artist. This work was 
made possible with a grant from the 
Creative Artists Public Service 
Program (CAPS) 

t50 Clara's Gilts. 1978 

Craypa on paper, 27'/ 2 x 39 V 
Collection of the artist This work was 
made possible with a grant from the 
Creative Artists Public Service 
Program (CAPS) 



I have begun to enlarge the scale of the work enormously and that 
has brought about a shift in focus There is a quality of stage per-, 
formance in them. They are about costumes and dance. The animat- 
ing gesture comes from my arm now; it is an arc that radiates out 
from my body 

LS: Is it fair to refer to your work as abstract in a broad sense? 

JS: Yes. abstract in the sense that its form derives from natural or 
figurative imagery, or possibly some specific reference which may 
or may not be visible I'm concerned with the experience of making 
and discovering an image 

LS: Does this mean you're primarily concerned with the process of 
discovery in your work 7 

JS: I think that the ob|ect, the fact that you make an ob|ect and 
finish it, is very important I wouldn't do it if there wasn't something 
left from the process So it doesn't have meaning to me merely 



60 






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48. Mr. S/eary's C/'rcus. 1 977 



because it is a record of the process; it has meaning to me because, 
after being made, it is an object which has a certain beauty and 
formal structure, 

LS: And yet I sense in your work a very real concern with process, 

JS: Yes, the process has to do with achieving a certain balance 
between an image that is explicitly simple and clear yet inherently 
complex, even chaotic. It is this quality of continual tension and 
balance in the image that guides me in what I put where. More 
specifically, there's been a curious metamorphosis of certain images 
in my work that started with a kind of scribble, a calligraphic element 
which then turned into a figure and then into a rather hand-like 
form and then a tree. This idea of metamorphosis is very important 
in my work What connects all of it is a focus on marking— a gesture 
and that gesture is aimed at creating a movement or an illusion of 
movement or change 



61 



Danny Williams 



Born in Waco, Texas, 1 950 
Lives in Dallas 

Education 

Southern Methodist University, Dallas, 
1968-72, B.A 

University of Iowa, Iowa City, 
1974-76, MA 

Selected Group Exhibitions 
Margo Jones Theatre, Southern 
Methodist University, Dallas [two- 
man exhibition], Spring 1973 
Hathorn Gallery, Skidmore College, 
Saratoga Springs, New York, M.F.A. 
Invitational, October 31 -November 1 9, 
1975 

The Art Center, Waco, Texas, The Art 
Center 1975 Competition, November 8- 
22, 1975 

D W Co-Op Gallery, Dallas, Two Mints 
in One: Ron Moody, Danny Williams, 
August 14 -September 9, 1976 
Hamilton Gallery, Elmira College, 
Elmira, New York, Texas Print and 
Drawing Show. January 20-February 
16, 1977 

The Fort Worth Art Museum, The 
Southwest /Tarrant County Annual, 
April 24-June 5, 1977 

Bibliography 

Roberta Smith, "Twelve Days of Texas," 
Art in America, vol 64, no. Four, July- 
August 1976, pp. 42-48 



For years, painting has been for me a personal means of isolating 
and assessing thoughts which sustain assumptions, an artistry 
directly responsive to the changing nature of perception. This 
involvement has at times led to the development of symbols— charac- 
ters, shapes and colors which serve to depict thought and feeling 
as experience. Correspondingly, altered references have meant an 
elimination of various images as meaningless to the expression of 
real concerns. I find my interest in making an 1 now turns increasingly 
toward a search for sustained balance and unity. Knowing art and 
life as one is the insistent focus. 



Checklist 

51 In the Black Night. 1 977 
Acrylic on paper, 28% x 31 Ve" 
Collection of the artist 

t 52 Jasmine. 1 977 

Acrylic on paper, 28 x 31 '/," 
Collection of the artist 

1 53 Within a Sleeping Wood. 1 976 
Acrylic on paper. 28y 2 x 31" 
Collection of the artist 



62 



54 This Quickened Season. 1 977 
Acrylic on paper, 58'/ 4 x 51 y 4 " 
Collection Dallas Museum of 
Fine Arts 

55 My Home and Native Land. 1 977 
Acrylic on paper, 29'/ 2 x 34" 
Collection of the artist 

56 Orchard. 1977 

Acrylic on paper, 25 x 29" 
Collection Charles Ennis 




56, Orchard. 1977 



63 




54. This Quickened Season 1 977 



64 




55. My Home and Native Land. 1 977 



65 



Scott Wixon 



Born in Hyanms, Massachusetts, 1948 
Lives in New York City 

Education 

Massachusetts College of Art. Boston, 

1966-70, B.FA. 

Yale University, School of Art, 

New Haven, 1970-72. MFA 

Selected Group Exhibitions 
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Earth, Air, 
Fire, Water: Elements of Art, 
February 5-April 11, 1971 

Touchstone Gallery, New York. New 
Talent, July 5-29, 1 977 
The New Gallery, Russell Sage College. 
Troy, New York, Drawings, 
September 21 -October 21, 1977 



Checklist 

57 Untitled 1977 

Acrylic on canvas, 80 x 106" 
Collection of the artist 

58 Untitled. 1977 

Acrylic on canvas, 80 x 98'/, 
Collection of the artist 

59 Untitled. 1977 

Acrylic on canvas, 80 x 141" 
Collection of the artist 



SW: In the sixties there were certain artists working in various 
styles, who dominated other artists' attention These dominant 
figures defined the things that art was about during those years. 
You'd wait each year to see what they were doing— it was important to 
know because otherwise you felt out of touch with what was going 
on In the seventies I think we have been looking elsewhere— that is, 
within ourselves— to find out what is going on. Much of the work 
being done today by younger artists reflects a process of turning 
inward, trying to make sense out of the things which are most 
important to them personally 

LS: Does this mean you have rejected the artists of the sixties as 
sources of influence? 

SW: Not at all. I consider myself to have been strongly influenced 
by many of them— Noland, especially— although the influence may 
not be immediately obvious Color has always been extremely im- 
portant for me, so it really would have been impossible for me not 
to have been affected by Noland's use of vibrant color bands On the 
other hand, I'm actively involved in gesture and in creating a per- 
sonal vocabulary of shapes, which I don't think he's interested in. 

LS: How is shape related to composition in your work? 

SW: Right now I'm concentrating on using both biomorphic and 
somewhat geometric shapes, playing one off against the other I'm 
interested in juxtaposing the two and trying to create an overall 
field where they can work with each other, without losing the kind 
of energy and motion that I want. In the same way, I'm using browns 
and black as counterpoints to the bright colors. 

LS: You refer to a personal vocabulary of shapes Are you also try- 
ing to establish a personal vocabulary of color, or are your choices 
less deliberate? 

SW: I didn't mean to imply by the word vocabulary something rigid, 
particularly in terms of color. I find I rely on my intuitive sense of 
color when it comes to making decisions. I first made paintings that 
were either primarily bright colors or earth tones with black, but 
then I started to use both kinds of colors together in the same work. 
Even when I was making sculpture in the early seventies, color 
played an important role: I did a number of pieces using powdered 
dyes: I sifted the dye into fresh plaster and poured molten wax over 
it I blew dyes into special chambers and experimented in other 
ways too 

LS: You say you rely on your intuitive sense of color— but does plan- 
ning play a role in your process 9 

SW: I hardly ever plan a painting, even though I may have a certain 
idea of some element— a shape, a form, a mood— before I start. I 



66 




59. Untitled. 1 977 



67 




57 Untitled. 1977 



68 




58. Untitled. 1977 



69 



trust my intuition. My structure develops through chance and even 
errors I've always liked working with materials in a way that en- 
couraged or allowed a lot of chance to come into play 

LS: Are your paintings based on any kind of references to the 
external world? 

SW: No, not really, but nature has always been a strong Influence on 
me; I don't work directly from it, but I do find it's something that 
recharges me. I'd say I'm much more oriented towards landscape 
than cityscape. yet I feel there's also a type of city energy In my work. 
I did a lot of drawings this past summer on Cape Cod. They were 
essentially abstract, but I think the type of light and the flatness of 
the ocean and the beach— all horizontals— were felt in the drawings 

LS: Do you try to resolve your ideas in a series of paintings, or does 
each one function as an isolated and complete statement? 

SW: I see my individual paintings as unique although they're all 
related by some sort of organic development and it seems as if one 
grows out of the one before. Some are better than others, but they 
all represent a very personal investigation of what I want to say 
visually— with color, with form and shape. I'm constantly trying to 
extend the limits of what I've done before, so I can't worry about 
destroying the painting in the process. I question all the other areas 
of my life, but when I'm painting I feel very confident that I can 
totally trust my intuition and make the right decisions. And even 
when I don't, it no longer bothers me. I don't worry if it makes sense 
or not, or whether it's too lyrical or decorative. I've simply done 
what I felt I should 



70 



Photographic Credits 



Black and White 

Tom Arndt: cat. no. 3 

Courtesy Blum-Helman Gallery, New York: cat. nos. 20, 21 

Bevan Davies: cat. no. 7 

Bob Goodman: cat. nos. 52, 53 

Andy Grundberg: cat. nos. 15, 16 

Robert Hemsleigh: cat. no. 11 

Brad Iverson: cat. nos. 37, 38 

Stuart Klipper: cat. no. 1 

Bill Lapham: cat. nos. 12, 25 

Aida and Robert Mates: cat. no. 8 

Robert E. Mates and Mary Donlon: cat. nos 45, 46, 47 

Nachume Miller: cat. nos. 35, 36 

Eric Pollitzer: cat. nos. 57, 59; fig. in text, p. 32 

Harry Shunk: cat. no. 28 

Gwenn Thomas: cat. nos. 30, 32 

Sarah Wells: cat. no. 42 

Color 

Dallas Museum of Fine Arts: cat. no. 51 

Bevan Davies: cat. no. 34 

Andy Grundberg: cat. no 17 

Robert Hemsleigh: cat. no. 13 

Brad Iverson: cat. no. 41 

Bill Lapham: cat. no. 27 

Stuart Klipper: cat. no. 5 

Robert E. Mates and Mary Donlon. cat. no. 48 

Eric Pollitzer: cat. nos. 9, 58 

Gwenn Thomas: cat. nos. 19, 31 

Sarah Wells: cat. no. 43 



71 



Exhibition 78/3 

3000 copies of this catalogue, designed by 
Malcolm Grear Designers, have been typeset 
and printed by Eastern Press in March and 
April 1978 tor the Trustees of The Solomon R 
Guggenheim Foundation on the occasion of 
the exhibition Young American Artists: 
1978 Exxon National Exhibition 



72